The home crowd was loud for the Dragons’ starting pitcher who struck out in her previous at-bat on three consecutive off-speed pitches.
She sat change and drove it to the fence to score two runs and gave Gretna a 2-0 lead. The Dragons went on to win 4-1.
“My approach was to sit change-up,” Jensen said after the game. “Obviously, they were throwing change-ups so sit it and see how that works. It’s that simple.”
In a rematch of the Kaiti Williams Memorial Classic Championship on Sept. 2 where Papio got a 7-5, five-inning win, Gretna head coach Bill Heard decided to give Jensen the start. She went the distance and surrendered three hits, one earned run and one walk and struck out 11.
“She was really good tonight,” said Heard. “Our pitching staff probably doesn’t get the credit they deserve but her innings are significantly down compared to where she was a year ago. That matters. She’s going to have her legs under her when it matters the most. Like tonight.”
As a team, the Dragons banged out six hits. Skarlett Jones and Megan Marshall each had two hits. Emerson Johnson blasted a solo home run in the sixth.
It took a while for either team to find a way on base in the early innings. The crowd filled the bleachers behind home plate and down the first base line.
“I didn’t think our composure was great tonight in those early innings,” said Heard. “I thought the moment was maybe getting a little too big for them, so we just asked them to settle in and refocus.”
Papio was on the verge of being shutout when Kloey Hamblen, who recently committed to Peru State, hit a no-doubt homer to left-center in the seventh. Jensen didn’t let that phase her.
“I just trusted the team,” said Jensen. “Our team is amazing together and when we work together, we are great.”
Amanda Gibilisco got the loss for Papio.
The two teams will meet again on September 21.
Jensen said her approach won’t change for that game either.
“As long as the team is working well together, that’s all that matters,” she said.