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WELL-ROUNDY: UJ baseball senior can do it all

University of Jamestown's Tanner Roundy hustles out of the batter's box after hitting a ground ball during action last season at Jack Brown Stadium. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Tanner Roundy and the University of Jamestown baseball team have quietly put together an impressive season on the base paths.

Through 34 games the Jimmies' 101 stolen bases sits fourth best in the NAIA, behind only Tabor, Kan. (131), LSU-Alexandria (121) and Faulkner, Ala. (105). Roundy has led the charge and is currently six stolen bases shy of tying the Jimmies' single-season record with 13 games remaining to the regular season.

The senior outfielder and pitcher from Henderson, Nev., has swiped 27 bases in 29 attempts for the 23-11 Jimmies, who begin a series of four Great Plains Athletic Conference games tomorrow in Nebraska. Scott Moen set the UJ record of 33 stolen bases in 1996.

"It's just something I've always been pretty good at," said Roundy, who has been batting third in UJ coach Tom Hager's order as of late with a team-high .364 average and 31 runs scored. "In high school our coach really emphasized it and ever since then I've just loved stealing bases."

Roundy was coached in high school by former Oakland Athletics pitcher Scott Baker at Basic Academy of International Studies in Henderson, Nev. An all-state pitcher in his own right, Roundy helped lead the Wolves to a record of 27-6 during his senior campaign in 2015.

Roundy began his college career in 2016 at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wash., a community college in the Northwest Athletic Conference located approximately 140 miles southwest of Spokane. There the left-handed pitcher compiled an overall record of 5-3 with 38 strikeouts in 17 appearances in two seasons, but batted .342 in 152 at-bats for the Hawks in the spring of 2017 as the team's primary right fielder. He also stole 11 bases, scored 38 times and recorded 32 RBIs as a sophomore.

Roundy has started, either on the mound or in the outfield, in every game he's played for coach Hager and the Jimmies, which began in center field during Jamestown's first fall baseball game of 2017-18 season. The Jimmies went on to 45 victories and one win shy of an NAIA World Series berth, with Roundy slashing .351/.383/.468 from the right side of the plate.

"Tanner is a special player," Hager said. "When you can make an impact both on the mound and at the plate, you can really take over a game for your team and he's capable of doing both."

Along with leading the Jimmies in stolen bases, batting average and runs scored this season, Roundy also leads the team in hits (44) and is tied for the team lead in RBIs (26). But the ball player's first love is on the mound.

Currently leading UJ starters with an ERA of 2.50, Roundy has produced a 3-0 record in six starts with 37 strikeouts to 14 walks in seven total appearances.

"My whole life I've been pitching and hitting," Roundy said. "It's really nothing, but pitching is my favorite. Getting to be out there on the mound is awesome."

The Jimmies (12-4 GPAC) face conference leader Concordia University (21-12, 15-1 GPAC) for two games beginning at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Seward, Neb. Jamestown plays a second conference doubleheader Sunday against Midland University (15-18, 8-8) in Fremont, Neb.

UJ trails Concordia by three games for the GPAC lead with 12 league games to play. Jamestown has won 12 of it last 15 contests.

"The mindset is going to be the same as it has the last couple of weeks," Roundy said. "Come in trying to swing the bats well and hopefully our starters can give us four quality starts."

Speed a strength

Coach Hager has been impressed this season with how the Jimmies have approached its plus team speed.

Along with Roundy, juniors Grant Okawa (14), Matt Meraz (12), Chase Hacker (11) and Nick Wrigg (10) have all surpassed double digits in stolen bases, and senior Jaden Yackley (9) isn't far behind. The Jimmies' 2.971 stolen bases per contest is third best in the nation, which has helped lead to 214 runs.

Roundy is currently fifth in the NAIA in total bases swiped (27).

"We knew team speed was going to be a strength of ours this year, and our guys have definitely taken it on as part of their identity," Hager said. "We've always had success running the bases in this program and this team has just taken it to another level."

GPAC heating up

In their first season in the league, the Jimmies were picked by coaches in the preseason to win the GPAC. UJ will see how it measures up tomorrow against current conference frontrunner Concordia.

The Bulldogs recently split two games at Midland and fell 8-2 at home to York (Neb.) on April 10, but won 15 straight prior. Senior Christian Meza (.336/.438/.514) leads Concordia with 10 doubles and 30 RBIs, while pitchers Jake Fosgett (3.55 ERA, 57 SO) and Tanner Wauhob (3.82 ERA) have both played to 5-1 records.

The Bulldogs are allowing an opposing batting average of .248. The Jimmies have a team batting average of .306.

"They've been really good over the last two or three weeks and they've been balanced both on the mound and at the plate," Hager said of the Bulldogs. "There's no question they're a good team. I have a lot of respect for their coach (Ryan Dupic) and we're going to have to play really good baseball to take care of business against them."

Midland, winners of four of its last five, will play Doane (12-20, 7-9 GPAC) tomorrow in Crete, Neb., before hosting the Jimmies on Sunday. Opponents are hitting .282 against the Warriors, who have some pop at the plate in junior catcher Matt Abdelnour (25 RBIs, 6 home runs).

"Midland is a team that has perennially been very strong in the GPAC," Hager said. "They're a younger team this year, but they're talented and they're always sound.

"It's going to be a challenging weekend, but we're looking forward to it. At the end of the day, it's about our team and playing the game that we're supposed to play."

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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