Good energy, solid plays: Blue Jays split with West Fargo
The Jamestown High School softball team hosted West Fargo on May 18.
JAMESTOWN — Addison Graves forced kids playing on McElroy Park's playground to be a little extra careful Tuesday night.
Unintentionally of course.
Down 16-9 in the bottom of the fifth, the Jamestown High School junior, let loose and fired one over the Trapper Field fence out to the park road in the direction of the playground.
"It felt really good actually," Graves said of her territory-crossing bomb. "I found my groove."
The Jays went 1-1 against West Fargo in their final doubleheader of the year at Trapper Field. the East Region's No. 3 team. Jamestown split with the EDC's No. 3 team dropping 29-14 in game No. 1 and then rallying to take the second game 13-1 to end the Jays' regular season home schedule.
Jamestown is now 22-8 overall and will end their regular season conference schedule with a road tilt at Dickinson on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
"It was a non-conference game against the East — we'd probably play it differently if we needed to win (but) we hit the ball hard, we hit their No. 1 pitcher pretty hard — we were in the ball game," JHS head coach Mike Soulis said. "It opened up an opportunity for our younger girls to come in and compete on short notice and they can learn from that. We can learn from the negatives and the positives on this one."
While the Jays might have made some strategic moves on the infield — their batting order seemed to be working out great.
"I think we had very good energy and had some really solid plays," Graves said. "It didn't come out the way we wanted it to but overall I think it was a very good game and both teams were really competitive and both teams had really good hitters."
Graves wound up going 0.800 at the plate in the opening game. The junior hit two bombs and drove in six.
"I was just trying to keep my mind clear and stay confident," Graves said. "I didn't really want to think about anything going wrong — otherwise it goes wrong — so I was just trying to keep my mind clear and stay confident — was going through the ball for line drives and just hoped it went my way."
Graves is in her first official season as a varsity team member. Last year as a sophomore, Graves split time between the Jays' junior varsity and varsity roster. While she has only had about six weeks as a varsity athlete, Graves said she has been playing softball for the better part of the last decade.
"She starting to understand when she should swing and when she shouldn't," Soulis said of Graves. "I think that is just a matter of experience. She's got a good bat and really her defense is coming along where she has grown into a lot stronger of a ball player."
Graves is 0.448 at the plate and holds a slugging percentage of 0.816. She has notched eight home runs, second only to Makenna Nold who has tallied 11 in her 22 games played. Graves also has driven in the most runs out of any Blue Jay with 41.
What does she credit her progression to?
"Confidence," Graves said without missing a beat. "Last year I was still nervous when I did get my time and this year, seeing all the pitchers and seeing the field has helped my confidence a lot."
"I really enjoy this team," she said. "We have a really good bond with each other which is really important to help the success of the team. We're not just showing up and playing, we are all really close. I've been playing with some of these girls for a long time and I really enjoy that because we know how each other plays and know how to pick each other up and build on that."
There were a lot of chances to build for the Jays against the Packers.
Right away in the first, Katelyn Kackman led things off for the Packers with a solo home run.
Sydney Dye was driven home on a double from Courtney Docktor while Docktor crossed home plate on a two-run blast from Emma Johnson to make it 4-0 Packers five minutes into game No. 1.
The Packers notched three more, capitalizing on a passed ball, an error in the Jays' outfield, and a well-hit ball out to the center-right field gap. Katie Falk finally got out No. 3 of the half-inning on a strikeout of Docktor.
Falk went for five innings. The senior allowed 16 runs — 10 earned — off 17 hits. She retired five and walked four. Leah Trumbauer took over pitching duties in the sixth. The sophomore threw for 1.1 innings, She allowed seven runs on three hits and walked five. Avery Graves closed out game No. 1.
On the offensive end for the Jays, Ella Falk made good on an 11-pitch at-bat, singling one through the legs of West Fargo pitcher Emma Johnson to earn the Jays' first hit of the day. Four batters later, Makenna Nold drove in Falk's run and Jada Walter to make it 7-2 Packers.
An RBI single from Graves made it 7-3 after one.
The Jays came as close as one, but things got a little out of control in the seventh.
West Fargo scored 13 runs in the final frame of play to make it 29-11 with half of an inning remaining. Graves' second dinger of the evening and seventh of the year, drove in a final three runs for the Jays before of a strikeout of Avery Graves sealed the deal for the Jays.
It was a tough but manageable end to a nonconference tilt and Soulis and Graves said they have now turned their attention to Dickinson.
"We need to bring that same energy," Graves said. "Our at-bats definitely build on how we play in the field. Quality at-bats help us stay confident in the field and then we make good plays. They build on each other — that's what we can take from tonight for tomorrow is that same confidence."
West Fargo 29, Jamestown 14
WF 703 240 13 — 29 26 1
JHS 331 220 3 — 14 17 3
JHS: Katie Falk, Leah Trumbauer (6), Avery Graves (7); WF: Emma Johnson, Aubrey Finn (5)
Highlights: JHS — Falk (5 IP, 17 H, 16 R, 10 ER, 4 BB, 5 K) 3-5, 2B; Makenna Nold 1-4, RBI, 2B; Addison Graves 4-5, 6 RBI, 2 HR; Torrie Mack 2-4; Jada Walter 2-5, 2 RBI.
WF — Chloe Papenfuss 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Kackman 5-6, 2 RBI, 2B, HR; Docktor 3-6, 5 RBI.
Jamestown 13, West Fargo 1
WF 000 100 X — 1 4 3
JHS 211 324 X — 13 14 0
JHS: Makenna Nold; WF: Aubrey Finn
Highlights: JHS — Nold (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 15 K) 2-4, 2 HR 4 RBI; Addison Graves 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Ella Falk 1-4, RBI, HR; Jada Walter 3-4, 2 RBI, HR.
WF — Dye 2-3; Mara Lick 1-2; K. Krenz 1-2.