Lowering the broom
Solid hitting, pitching help GJ sweep DH from Durango
Elisha Jahnke can throw.
The Grand Junction High School pitcher moved batters off the plate and made Durango’s hitters hopelessly hack at pitches already in the catcher’s mitt.
She also, apparently, has a rubber arm.
After throwing a complete game and giving up two runs in a 12-1 win in the first game of a doubleheader, Jahnke spent most of the second game as the designated player at the Kronkright Softball Complex on Friday.
In the top of the seventh inning, when Durango cut a 4-0 deficit in half, Jahnke was brought in to close the game.
Instead of coming out in dominating fashion, Jahnke hit two batters, both in the feet. Not glancing blows, but loud, audible thumps.
But once she got her mind right, she forced a game-ending double play on a line-out to the second baseman, who then doubled the runner off first base.
The 4-2 win displayed the 5-foot-9 ace’s dominance, even if closing didn’t feel right at first.
“I just wanted to finish the game off,” Jahnke said. “My technique was off, and I hit two girls, but I’m glad the defense was able to get the double play. It showed how well they had been working all day.
“It was 1-0 there for awhile. I knew they’d come through for me. It’s a little tough to stay focused after sitting out for most of the game, but it wasn’t really that bad.”
For the first game, the Tigers rolled through the lineup, collecting 12 hits and benefitting from walks.
Grand Junction scored six runs in the first two innings, taking an aggressive approach at the plate.
Tigers coach Adam Diaz said his squad came was fired up for the season opener.
“They were ready to play in every facet of the game,” Diaz said. “We hit the ball well, made some plays defensively,”
The second game brought a small shift in the Tigers’ mentality, where coach Diaz said his team had an early season mental hiccup.
“We took them lightly, and hey, they came ready to play,” Diaz said. “We had a little letdown there where I think we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be at the plate. But the girls worked it out and found their way back. It was one of the best pitchers we’ve seen out of the Durango area in a long time, though.”
As the season progresses, Diaz said he looks for his team to get better at the plate, and the Tigers have the potential to shorten more games by the 10-run rule.
“We need to be more aggressive at the plate,” Diaz said. “We let too many first strikes go, and those pitchers love to start on top. We have to be aggressive, but maintain our discipline. If those first strikes are square over the plate, we should be taking them yard.”
Central 16-13, Cortez 0-0: There was something in the air.
That’s what Central coach Scott Else thinks after the Warriors walloped Montezuma-Cortez.
Amanda Etcheverry threw a one-hitter in the first game at the Grand Mesa Little League Complex, only to be slightly outdone by freshman Sierra Batchelor in the second game with an eight-strikeout no-hitter.
“I don’t know if it was the moisture in the air or what,” Else said. “But they both had a ton of movement on their pitches, and everything looked fantastic. They threw a lot of strikes. They pitched great games, and our bats really came around.”
During her one-hitter, Etcheverry also hit a grand slam.
Etcheverry is part of a stellar junior class Else said will carry the Warriors this season.
“We have a really talented group of juniors,” Else said. “Most of them got varsity playing time, and having a group like that really negates losing eight seniors.”