Softball earns post-season bid to conference tournament

Jensen Cromer JENSEN CROMER AND THE JETS begin their post-season play at 11 a.m. today against Texas A&M International in San Antonio. Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics.

After one game and two cancellations due to weather last weekend, the Newman softball team clinched the final spot in the Heartland Conference Tournament, which will take place this weekend in San Antonio. The baseball team will also wrap up its season with its series vs. Texas A&M International this weekend.

During the first game of the series, the Jets made quick work with junior Erin Jankiewicz and senior Jensen Cromer hitting runners in with 2 singles to raise the score to 3-0. The Jets scored again in the fifth to make the score 4-2. After a Jets score, senior Mikayla Medbery hit a two-run single to lock the game down at 7-5.

The second game began with Newman scoring three runs in the first inning and seven runs in the second to bring the score to 10-0. The game was abruptly cut short because of weather and both the second and third games of the series were eventually cancelled.

Janice Esses, the head softball coach, said that winning many games earlier on in the second half on the season set the Jets up for success.

“Them taking care of business early and doing what they need to helped us to make it into the tournament,” she said. “It came down to the home senior games against St. Ed[ward’s]. We took two from them and that was really the determining tiebreaker for us to get in.”

Esses said their pitchers’ focus is what will help them push through some of these games in the tournament.

“We have been really reliant on our senior pitchers Kate Smith and Jensen Cromer. They have done a great job with focusing on what they need to do,” she said. “They have stayed more diligent on keeping their focus on what they can control.”

Cromer said making it to this tournament has made her senior year well worth it.

“It means so much more to me knowing that this is my last season at Newman,” she said. “Us seniors have the opportunity to go out with a bang.”

Esses said that their mentality going into the tournament has to be based on taking everything step by step.

“Our focus right now has to be staying in the moment. One pitch at a time. One out at a time. One game at a time.”

Medbery said that though other people have had their doubts, the softball team could amaze them all.

“The softball team has surprised most, but this is a great group of girls that has the potential to take it all!” she said.

The baseball team will end conference play and their season this weekend.

Junior Aaron Mack said that this season brought some high points and some areas for development.

“I think this season has showed all of us that we have a lot to improve on, but we also have potential to be really good,” he said. “We have won some big games like the one against University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.”

Senior Bradley Altdoerffer said that he was sad for this to be his senior season but that the impact the sport has made on him will be life-long.

“The main thing I’m going to take away from this season is the friendships that I’ve made on this team. We have a great team chemistry and a brotherhood that is very strong,” he said.

The softball team will play fourth-seeded Texas A&M International today at 11 a.m. The baseball team will also play Texas A&M International with the series opening on Friday at 11 a.m.

This story first appeared in the May 4th, 2017 issue of The Vantage