Jenna Remenar batted No. 3 in the order for the University of Jamestown softball team earlier this season, an indication of just how much confidence head coach Kevin Gall has in his freshman second baseman's swing.
Batting eighth Wednesday at Trapper Field, Remenar barreled up a first-pitch screwball in the bottom half of the seventh inning against visiting Concordia University, Nebraska, which easily cleared the fence in left for two runs as the Jimmies walked off the Bulldogs, 3-1.
The round-tripper was Remenar's first in 112 career at-bats for the Jimmies. The Vancouver, Washington, product is hitting .378 with eight doubles, 20 RBIs, and a first collegiate home run to remember.
"I was just thinking about putting it in play, looking for the inside pitch," Remenar said. "That's what I got."
The jolt was just what Jamestown needed after being shut out in back-to-back games hosting Midland University last Saturday in a pair of tough Great Plains Athletic Conference losses.
Tied at 1-1, UJ's half of the seventh began with right fielder Santina Zito placing a single just over the glove of Concordia shortstop Tori Homolka. Katie Reisdorfer advanced Zito to second with a sacrifice bunt, and following a Gracie Fisher groundout to short Remenar zeroed in on the inner half of the plate against Concordia ace Camry Moore and swung away.
Remenar batted 3-for-6 on the day. Concordia bounced back to split the conference doubleheader with a 4-2 victory in game 2.
"She hits the ball really hard and we've kinda been waiting for that," Gall said. "Hopefully she can keep it going."
Jamestown ace Kat Miska tossed 100 pitches in the win, getting out of a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the seventh to preserve the 1-1 game. Miska struck out seven, increasing her GPAC-leading total in that department to 166.
Miska, improving to 13-2, fanned five Bulldogs in her first time through the order, eventually giving up a game-tying triple to Moore in the fourth.
But for the most part -- with only three hits allowed -- Miska was again unhittable. Her opposing batting average of .161 and ERA of 0.95 ranks inside the nation's top 10, along with her strikeouts total.
Moore -- the other half to Wednesday's game 1 pitchers' duel -- fell to 13-3 for the 21-7 Bulldogs but picked up the save in game 2.
"It's a pretty nerve-wracking thing," said Miska, in regards to Wednesday's low-scoring battle. "There's a lot of pressure on you, but I'm also doing it for the girls and I know that they will come through in the end to score those runs. Just having trust in them and working together and staying positive."
Miska was largely sharp throughout, occasionally missing high with her rise ball. She allowed three free passes.
"Especially on 1-1 counts, I try to throw that rise ball to get them to swing for that second strike," Miska said. "Just overextending on it kinda makes it go a little high."
The Jimmies got on the board first in the third inning when Kassi Ward sent an infield single off Moore's facemask in the pitcher's circle, scoring Megan Neiles from third, and Jamestown's defense turned a pair of double plays in the game behind the GPAC's top pitcher.
"That is awesome," Miska said of UJ's game 1 defense. "It is the best feeling because it's easier on me. I don't have to throw as much and it just makes you feel good."
Jamestown shortstop Morgan Geiszler batted 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, but no hit Wednesday was louder than Remenar's game-winner. Moore fanned two Jimmies but wasn't exactly easy to solve.
"She was definitely hitting her spots," Remenar said. "She had a rise ball and a good changeup as well. She had good movement, but we were putting our barrel on it and were just making it work."
After possibly feeling a little pressure to produce near the top of the order, Gall said dropping Remenar lower has been aimed at helping her find her comfort zone against college pitching. He believes swings like the ones Remenar produced Wednesday are more typical of what she's capable of offensively, which includes driving the ball with authority to all fields.
"It was really good to see her come up and have really good at-bats afterward, too," Gall said. "She hit the ball hard two or three times in that second game, and I think that's a sign of a good hitter."
But how about a home run hitter?
"We'll see, right?" Remenar laughed. "Putting in work, that's the ultimate goal."
Bulldogs 4, Jimmies 2
University of Jamestown's Katie Reisdorfer had her left leg wrapped and needed the assistance of teammates to walk to the post-game huddle just past third base.
Not a great sign for UJ's junior starting catcher, who took a foul ball to the leg off the bat of Concordia's Julia Van Wey in the second inning of game 2 and was forced to exit the game.
The ball was believed to have caught Reisdorfer between her pads, bruising her left thigh.
"Hopefully she can get it limbered up and see how it feels on Friday," said Gall, in anticipation of this weekend's conference road trip to Nebraska.
Having one of the best pitchers in the country -- the right-handed Miska -- losing the starting backstop for any stretch of time could hamper the Jimmies with the postseason looming. But Gall is more than confident in freshman backup Megan Neiles, a left-handed freshman from Winnipeg.
Neiles was named the U19A Top Female Athlete of the Year by the Softball Manitoba Board of Directors last fall. Neiles is batting .338 in 68 at-bats this season for the Jims.
"A left-handed catcher might be advantageous to us in terms of the way Kat throws that curveball," Gall said. "One of the things I think Neiles does really well is receive the ball ... those little pitches that are right there. Not that Reisdorfer doesn't do a good job, but we'll get to see how it goes with Megan."
One of three Jimmie errors helped Concordia break the seal with a run scored in the top of the first. A Gracie Fisher RBI single tied the game at 1-1 in the second, but the Bulldogs would piece together the next three unanswered.
Concordia took the lead after a Caitlyn McGarvie RBI single in the third, and a two-run fifth was fueled by a second McGarvie run-scoring single and Regan Karel drove in a run with a base knock.
The Jimmies' Katie Merchant shouldered the loss, allowing three earned runs on eight hits and two walks through 4 2/3 innings, but this Jimmies' offense again struggled to produce runs.
UJ stranded six runners and all eight of its hits were singles. Concordia's Jerzi Rowe was the game's winning pitcher, lasting fiving innings after allowing two runs and striking out a pair.
"We've had a tough time scoring runs in the last four or five games," Gall said. "It's just been one of those lulls, and today I thought we did a pretty good job of putting the barrel on it, we just didn't do it enough."
Sydney Prussia drove in Geiszler in the fifth to cut the lead in half at 4-2, but Van Wey at first robbed UJ's Zito of a run-scoring hit that would've found the right-field fence down the line had it not found Van Wey's glove first.
Prussia was stranded at third.
The Jimmies fell to 26-10 overall and are fourth in the conference at 9-5. UJ is at Doane University (19-20, 6-8 GPAC) on Friday and Hastings College (12-23, 4-10 GPAC) on Saturday.
Crete, Nebraska -- home to the Doane Tigers -- is 510 miles from Jamestown.
"Hopefully we can bring our bats with us and score some runs down there," Gall said. "Doane has played some really good teams really tough, and so has Hastings.
"It's going to be a fun trip, hopefully, and either way, we'll learn some things that'll keep us moving forward."
University of Jamestown 3, (RV) Concordia University 1
CU 000 100 0 -- 1 3 0
UJ 001 000 2 -- 3 7 0
Batteries: C, Camry Moore and Brena Brown. Kat Miska and Katie Reisdorfer. W-Miska. L-Moore.
Highlights: C, Camry Moore 6 2/3 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 81 TP; Kylee Nixon 0-3, K; Jenessa Jarvis 0-1, 2 BB, R; Camry Moore 1-3, 3B, RBI, K; Tori Homolka 0-3, K; Hhana Haro 1-3; Caitlyn McGarvie 1-3, 2 K's; Regan Karel 0-2, BB; Julia Van Wey 0-2; Brena Brown 0-2, 2 K's.
UJ, Miska 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 K, 3 BB, 100 TP; Morgan Geiszler 2-3, 2 2B; Molly Haley 0-1; Mariah Wick 0-2, K; Kassi Ward 1-3, RBI; Sydney Prussia 0-3; Santina Zito 1-3, R; Katie Reisdorfer 0-2; Gracie Fisher 0-3; Jenna Remenar 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, R; Megan Neiles 1-2, R, K.
Records: Jamestown 26-9, 9-4 GPAC. Concordia 20-7, 6-5.
(RV) Concordia University 4, University of Jamestown 2
CU 101 020 0 -- 4 11 1
UJ 010 010 0 -- 2 8 3
Batteries: C, Jerzi Rowe, Camry Moore (6) and Brena Brown. Katie Merchant, Lucy Sinkkonen (5) and Katie Reisdorfer, Megan Neiles (2). W-Rowe. L-Merchant. S-Moore.
Highlights: C, Rowe 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO; Moore 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO; Tori Homolka 2-4, Caitlyn McGarvie 2-4, 2 RBI; Regan Karel 2-4, RBI.
J, Merchant 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO; Sinkkonen 2 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Sydney Prussia 2-3, RBI; Gracie Fisher 2-3, RBI; Jenna Remenar 1-3, Santina Zito 1-3, R; Kassi Ward 1-3, Morgan Geiszler 1-4, R.
Records: Concordia 21-7, 7-5 GPAC. Jamestown 26-10, 9-5.