Jahner leaving impact on Midgets softball from circle, at the plate
There are plenty of mechanics and finer details that make a pitcher and batter successful, but focus is one common string between the two.And all that Madi Jahner is focused on is her last softball season in a Dickinson High uniform.The Midgets s...
There are plenty of mechanics and finer details that make a pitcher and batter successful, but focus is one common string between the two.
And all that Madi Jahner is focused on is her last softball season in a Dickinson High uniform.
The Midgets senior is aiming to conclude her final season with a championship in the West Region Tournament in Minot. Top-seeded Dickinson (28-3, 23-3 West Region) starts with the winner of No. 8 Mandan and No. 9 Turtle Mountain at 1 p.m. on Friday.
And to Jahner, it’s all coming too quickly.
“I’m just trying to take every moment with my team and really appreciate it and appreciate playing with them,” Jahner said.
Jahner leads the team in both ERA at 2.22 with a 13-0 pitching record and batting average among teammates who have batted at least 20 times at .564. The future University of Mary student has also driven in 30 runs while scoring 49 of her own on her way to 53 hits, 11 doubles, seven triples and three home runs.
The next closest teammate in batting average is catcher Jordie McNeilly, who happens to follow Jahner in Dickinson’s lineup.
“She sets the tone for me a lot,” McNeilly said. “Even when she gets out, she gets out on almost a home run. Then I just feel motivated to go up and smash the ball. … I think now going up to the plate as opposed to last year, we’re a lot more confident.”
Though McNeilly is as much of a leader because she is always facing the team from behind home plate, Jahner is the one who sets the tone for the team.
And having that kind of pitcher who can control a game in the pitcher’s circle has been vital for Dickinson, head coach Amanda Mickey said.
“She’s been an amazing, positive influence on this team,” Mickey said. “She set the bar high for us in the future. … I knew who this kid was at age 9. That’s how hard of a worker she was, always striving to be great, and she has become great. I hope she strives every single day after high school to become better. I know she’s going to do amazing things in college. She set the bar high for softball in Dickinson, and we’ll continue to move that bar up higher from here on.”
Mickey conceded that Jahner has been walking quite a few batters lately - an issue the Midgets have been trying to fix in practice the week before the postseason - so throwing more strikes will be a key for the West Regionals.
“It’s all about being efficient,” Jahner said. “I can’t waste a bunch of pitches on walking people, which I’ve been doing a lot of lately, so I really need to focus on hitting my spots and get the job done.”
Success as a pitcher comes from focus and work ethic, Jahner said, because she has to withstand pressure from not only coaches and other players, but also from herself.
“Not always being the most athletically talented, I’ve just really tried to work my butt off,” Jahner said. “I love playing the game, and I love playing with these girls. They push me to do my best and I push them to do their best.”
And to be a successful hitter, Jahner said, she has to swing with a purpose and believe she can hit every ball.
This is a mindset her entire team has carried on its way to a .414 batting average and 269 RBI this season.
“It makes you way more comfortable,” Jahner said of her team’s offense. “You can just go out there and have fun and throw hard. You don’t have to worry about being back on your heels. That offense gives you a cushion to make minor mistakes when you’re going hard. It’s been huge this year.”
Because she usually has the team in mind, McNeilly said Jahner picks everyone up when they’re down, making her one of the most prominent leaders on the team.
“She brings a lot of energy to the circle,” McNeilly said. “She brings a lot of the confidence to our team for us. She never gets down on herself. She never gets down on us. She always picks us up.”
McNeilly added that Jahner’s personality off the field has allowed her to be a successful pitcher.
That is, the personality of an energetic leader.
“She really knows how to hit her spots,” McNeilly said. “And she’s going to do that at (West Regionals) too. She’s going to be a big threat for a lot of teams.”