'Something special': Blue Jay seniors in the tail-end of regular season
The Jamestown High School softball team hosted Watford City on May 16.
JAMESTOWN — Mentioning a team's seniors is a surefire way to stir up some emotion in a head coach.
Jamestown High School head softball coach Mike Soulis was no exception.
"I don't know if I'm ready to talk about that yet," Soulis said with a soft smile. "You are always going to miss the seniors. Every year you are going to have to replace somebody but as a whole, this is a good group of seniors that lead by example.
"What they are showing our younger girls is very valuable to us as coaches because we know that we have four extra coaches who the girls look up to — it makes our job easier," he said.
Tuesday night marked senior night and the last home conference game of the year for the Blue Jays. The Jays dispatched Watford City 25-7, 27-0 to move to 14-2 in the West Region standings and 21-7 overall. Next up for Soulis' squad is a non-conference doubleheader against West Fargo on Thursday at Trapper Field. The Jays will wrap up its regular season schedule with a road trip up to Dickinson on Friday.
Jamestown's sweep of the Wolves secured the Jays a top-three seed in the upcoming West Region softball tournament. The tournament is scheduled to be held May 25-27 at Dickinson.
"(Softball) was one of the best experiences of my high school career," senior Rylee Joseph said. "It was something that I looked forward to every year. The atmosphere of being on this team and being able to play the sport we love together was definitely something special."
Amazingly, the last three years seemed to go faster for the seniors than the opening frame against the Wolves did.
Back-to-back strikeouts by Katie Falk signaled the end of the top of the first. The senior threw for the opening two innings, retiring three at the plate. Katie walked no batters and did not allow a hit.
They weren't just good in the field.
After Jada Walter sent Ella Falk home on an RBI double and Joseph stole home on a wild pitch, Makenna Nold, the Jays' No. 5 batter, sent all runners home with a dinger sent over the center field fence to make it 5-0 Jays with no outs on the board.
Three straight walks from Watford City pitcher, Mallory Bradley, made it 8-0 Jays with still no outs.
Walter cracked her second double of the evening to send Leah Trumbauer and Violet Bohl home to give the Jays a double-digit lead.
The Wolves gave up another five runs before they secured an elusive third out to make it 15-0 Blue Jays at the end of one.
It didn't take long for the hosts to be back at the plate.
Falk retired batters No 5, 6 and 7 in the top of the second, sending her team back to the batter's box. The Jays rifled off six more runs off four hits in the second to make it a 21-zip ball game
In the third, things began looking up for the Wolves — ever so slightly.
Mallory Bradley secured the Wolves' first hit of the afternoon, sending one out to center field to put runners at first and second. Ally Cross dashed the Jays' chances at a shutout, scoring on a Maci Comstock single to make it 21-1 Jays. Watford went on to score three more before a 4-2-5 putout ended the visitors' time at the plate.
Between the fourth and fifth innings, Jamestown managed to put four more on the board to give them a whopping 25 runs, a figure that was just too far out of reach for the Wolves.
It was a pretty good way for the four seniors to go out, but if you ask them, they are far from done.
The Jays are currently ranked the No. 2 team in the West Region, ahead of 2022 State champs Bismarck High and 2022 State runners-up Dickinson. Minot is currently leading the conference at 14-1 and 26-1 overall.
"I think (what's next) is to continue to build the culture that we've been building the last three years," Ella Falk said. "We want to continue winning and we want to continue to build a program in Jamestown that is the force that everyone is afraid of, that everyone wants to be a part of."
The Falk cousins have been playing softball with Walter and Joseph since "they were allowed to start playing." The foursome has also played basketball and volleyball together, giving them a unique chemistry on the field, which has proven dangerous to other teams and helpful for the Jays.
"Our chemistry carries over from sport to sport to sport," Joseph said. "There is a lot of time spent together and challenges that we've faced together."
The foursome lost out on their freshman softball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have rebounded in the last three seasons, appearing at both the 2021 and 2022 state softball tournaments.
"We're all really close," Katie said. "The friendships that we have made — we can't thank softball enough for that."
Katie, Walter and Joseph are all planning on playing collegiate-level softball next year. Katie signed with the University of Mary while Walter committed to Bismarck State College and Joseph decided to go with the University of Jamestown. Soulis said Ella also has the talent to play at the next level, but said he respects her decision to play basketball at Northwestern University instead.
"It's great to see that they have those opportunities," Soulis said. "I am glad they have those and can continue on to play the game. You can rely on them, they are dedicated, their work ethic — everything that you could possibly say — they are."
Jamestown 25, Watford City 7
WC 004 12X X — 7 8 1
JHS (15)61 3XX X — 25 14 4
JHS: Katie Falk, Leah Trumbauer (3); WC: Mallory Bradley, Adi Schaff (2), Brendalyn Clark (4).
Highlights: JHS — Falk (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K); Leah Trumbauer (3 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K); Ella Falk 1-2, RBI; Joseph 1-2, 3 RBI; Walter 3-3, 4 RBI, 2 2B; Makenna Nold 3-4, 6 RBI, HR; A. Graves 2-3, 2 RBI, 2B.
WC — Jordyn Pedersen 1-3 2B; Sam Chavez 1-3; Adi Schaff 1-3; Kayden Samuelson 1-2.
Jamestown 27, Watford City 0
WC 000 00X X — 0 0 5
JHS 1(23)1 2XX X — 27 17 0
JHS: Makenna Nold; A. Graves (3); WC: B. Clark, M. Comstock (2); Bradley (3)
Highlights: JHS — Nold (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 BB, 3 K); Graves (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K); Ella Falk 3-5, 2 2B, 4 RBI; Joseph 3-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Walter 2-3, 2 RBI, 2B; Katie Falk 4-4, 7 RBI, 2 2B, HR; Elizabeth Nihill 1-2, 2B, RBI.