Featured Story, Sports, UCM Sports

Giacone shines in relief as Jennies continue hot streak

Katie Giacone was named MIAA Athlete of the week for her recent performance. Giacone appeared in four games earning a win in three of them while striking out 10.

Nearly a month ago, Jennies softball made their home debut on the heels of a 6-12 start to the season.

The first month of the season wasn’t kind to the Jennies: As they would finally return for a home-opener against Rockhurst having lost eight of their last 10 games. It’s hard to pinpoint one issue that was responsible for their shortcomings, some nights they needed more offense and others they needed better pitching.

Two one-run victories in the home-opening doubleheader marked the beginning of an 18-4 stretch that has propelled the Jens to a 24-16 record. Since opening the home portion of their schedule, the Jennies have gone 11-1 at the South Recreational Complex. The one loss came from Northwest Missouri State by one run after the Jens fell short of a seventh-inning comeback.

“Initially we lacked the confidence, and everyone was playing to keep a spot,” Jennies pitcher Katie Giacone said. “Now we’re playing to win and expect to win.”

Giacone exemplifies the Jens midseason turnaround with her transition to a relief pitching role. Prior to moving to the bullpen, Giacone owned a 4.99 ERA. After a month of pitching in relief, it’s down to 2.95. Giacone last allowed more than two runs in a game March 8 when she allowed four. Over 14 appearances, she has allowed eight runs including seven straight games without a run scoring.

Giacone was named MIAA Athlete of the Week Wednesday after she appeared four of the Jens five wins, earning the win in three of those games allowing no runs and striking out 10.

“It feels really good, I worked really hard for it so it’s nice to see that paying off,” Giacone said.

The rest of the pitching staff has stepped up their game, Alexa Bradley has chipped her ERA down to 3.25 from 5.25. In her last outing against Northeastern State, she threw five innings with no earned runs and three strikeouts.

“Now we have more of a pitching staff, so we can use everyone’s strengths as a benefit to the team,” Giacone said. “We can throw with confidence knowing that if it doesn’t work, then we can back each other up.”

The offense has consistently scored runs managing at least four in all but over this three-game stretch. Corner outfielders Taylor Dames and Lauryn Deer highlight this rejuvenated Jennies offense. Dames is enjoying a nine-game hitting streak while Deer is hitting .406 and has seven games with three hits.

The Jens will travel to Topeka, Kansas, Friday to take on Washburn in a doubleheader. The Ichabods lead the MIAA with a 15-1 record and 31-8 record overall. Game one is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. with game two following at 4 p.m.


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