Jenna Fischer went "oppo" for a grand slam Wednesday evening at Trapper Field, much to the delight of Jamestown 18U Outlaws assistant coach Jason Falk.
Fischer batted 3-for-3 and drove in five total runs to help the Outlaws outgun visiting Mandan 14-1 in five innings. Her opposite-field slam drifted over the fence in right and highlighted a nine-run second inning for the top club softball team organized by Jamestown Area Girls Fastpitch Softball.
Chatter on the diamond made it immediately clear that Fischer's third homer of the season was developed in the batting cage.
"Oppo, yeah," Fischer smiled. "Every batting practice that's what I work on with (coach Falk) ... hitting opposite field."
The Outlaws banged out 11 hits in all, with Makenna Jackson (2-for-3), Rachel Schiele (2-for-3) and Lexi Laroux (2-for-3) joining Fischer with a multi-hit game. Outlaws head coach Mike Soulis said Jamestown is hitting its summer stride following last weekend's strong showing at the 20-team, 18U Mt. Rushmore Classic in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Before falling by six runs to the Rapid City Crush in the tournament's semifinals, the Outlaws upended North Dakota Elite 9-6 in quarterfinal play. The Outlaws improved to 12-7 overall with Wednesday's victory over Mandan.
"Obviously, the girls didn't get a high school spring season so there's a lot of teaching going on and a lot of buy-in to what the girls are doing and what we're doing," Soulis explained. "It's been fun because you go from Day 1 to now, we're playing some pretty good softball and the last two weekends have proven it."
The Outlaws received a solid start in the circle Wednesday from pitcher Katie Falk. The Jamestown High School sophomore-to-be went the distance, tossing 79 total pitches and striking out seven. Concordia College (Minnesota) softball recruit Rachel Woodley earned the five-inning pitching victory over North Dakota Elite last Sunday in the shadow of the sculpted presidents, a game in which Fischer also homered.
Falk credited Fischer's work behind home plate Wednesday against Mandan. Fischer, who will be a JHS junior in the fall, hit .383/.411/.673 with 15 doubles, four homers, two triples and a team-leading 40 RBIs as a freshman for JHS Blue Jays softball in the spring of 2019.
"Jenna did a really good job catching, too. She's good at framing (pitches) and all that good stuff," Falk said. "It's been really nice to get back out here and playing with everyone. We've really come together and have played really well together."
For Falk, that's also meant taking a few directions from her dad, Jason, a former college and amateur baseball player. When Katie didn't earnestly advance on the base paths Wednesday during inning No. 2, she drew the ire of the Outlaws' first base coach -- dad.
"Yeah, I didn't commit right away. That was my fault," Katie smiled. "It's been good. He's a good coach."
Mandan's Rylee Stotz singled home Piper Harris in the top of the first inning, giving the visitors an early 1-0 lead. But Jamestown struck for five in the bottom half, kicked off by Fischer's RBI double, and never looked back.
The Outlaws drew nine walks.
"Today we capitalized and we created some stuff, along with some walks that we got," Soulis said. "We came up with some crucial hits when we had to and we kinda did what we were supposed to do I thought."
The North Dakota 18U state tournament is on deck for the Outlaws next week in Fargo. The tournament runs from July 10-12.
"We can play that caliber of softball. The girls just gotta believe in it and I know they're doing that right now," Soulis said. "Softball is a game. I tell the girls to have fun and if they're giving 100% to the program and to the coaches, we're going to be competitive."
Said Katie Falk: "Hopefully just keep winning."
Jamestown 14, Mandan 1
M 100 00 -- 1 5 1
J 590 0X -- 14 11 0
Meagan Gourlay, Andi Borchers (2) and Syd Gustavsson. Katie Falk and Jenna Fischer. W--Falk. L-Gourley.
Highlights: M, Rylee Stotz 2-2, RBI. J, Falk 5 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 7 SO, 1 BB, 1-2, 2 R, BB, SB; Jenna Fischer 3-3, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R; Makenna Jackson 2-3, BB, R; Rachel Schiele 2-3, BB, SB, 3 R, RBI; Lexi laroux 2-3, 2 SB, 2 RBI, R; Dylann Diegel 1-2, 2 BB, 2 R; Rachel Woodley 0-2, BB, SB, 2 RBI, R.