CLINTON, S.C. — Dotting the corners of the plate for most of her life, Jenna Greene is now seeing her name dotted throughout Presbyterian College’s softball record book.
A Hamlet native, Greene recently concluded her junior season as a pitcher with the Blue Hose softball program. And with it, she now carries the title of Presbyterian’s all-time strikeout leader.
A 2019 graduate of Marlboro Academy, Greene participated in her first full college season this spring.
As a freshman, the 2020 season was cut short because of the pandemic (24 games) and the Blue Hose played a condensed 34-game season her sophomore year.
“This season was very different after two shortened seasons, but it was very fun to experience a full season,” Greene said. “Especially going to the conference tournament, all of it was very new and a lot of fun. I also got to experience how tiring it can be, but it was totally worth it.”
Presbyterian finished the 2022 slate with a 36-15 overall record, had a 19-8 mark against Big South Conference opponents and finished fourth in the Big South Conference championship tournament.
Despite not seeing as much playing time due to reasons beyond her control, it didn’t stop Greene from quickly climbing the charts at Presbyterian.
In a win over Winthrop University on April 24, Greene, a right-handed pitcher, struck out nine batters. When she was removed from the game in the fifth inning, assistant coach Alyssa Oakes smiled and asked why Greene couldn’t give her one more strikeout.
Confused, that’s when Greene learned that she was one strikeout away from becoming the Blue Hose’s all-time punchout leader.
Her final K of the game against Isabella Clark had tied her with former Presbyterian pitcher Leslie Hensley (2009-12) with 415 career strikeouts.
“I wasn’t aware of how close I was to the record, but Coach Oakes and a few of my teammates knew I was,” Greene explained. “So I knew going into my next game I had a chance to set the new record.”
Getting the start in the team’s next game six days later at North Carolina A&T State University, Greene wasted no time making history. She struck out leadoff batter Jazzmaine Hammond on four pitches, and tallied 10 total Ks in the win.
“When I got that strikeout, I looked at (Oakes) and we gave each other a thumbs up,” Greene said. “It was a very exciting achievement, and I’ve worked for this my entire life. I started playing really young, and my goal was to beat records wherever I went to college.
“It’s a really fulfilling experience because anyone who plays sports growing up knows the amount of commitment and sacrifice that have to be made to be a better player.”
This season, Greene collected team-highs with a 17-9 record, 203 strikeouts in 157.0 innings, threw 15 complete games and had 9 shutouts. Her opponents’ batting average of .186 was also the lowest among the Blue Hose’s pitching staff.
Jenna Greene fires a pitch during a game this season for Presbyterian College. (Contributed photo by Jeff Sochko/Tim Cowie Photography)
Known for her dominant riseball, Greene also throws a screwball, curveball and a change-up, and mixes in a dropball. That arsenal of pitches, coupled with her ability to offset batters, is what she believes has allowed her to be a force from the circle.
“Ultimately what makes me succeed is making sure my spin is good,” Greene explained. “I’m not the type of pitcher who is going to blow it past anybody, so I try to spin the ball and mix up the location to make batters off-balanced.
“During each at-bat I try to focus on staying ahead in the count,” she added. “I struggle with walking batters so I try to attack the zone first with a curve or screw to get ahead, then change speeds with a rise or a change. I’m always hoping for a strikeout, but an out is an out.”
Filling up the record book
Aside from becoming Presbyterian’s all-time strikeout leader, Greene holds several other single-game, single-season and career pitching records.
Greene is the Blue Hose’s all-time leader in career earned run average (2.10 ERA), opponent’s batting average (.181) and shutouts (17). Her current strikeout tally is at 447 Ks.
In single-season records, Greene has the top three lowest opponent batting averages (.147 as a freshman tops the list), and her 9 shutouts and 203 strikeouts in 2022 were both new program records.
Greene’s 17 wins this spring were the second-most in a single season and she currently sits second with career complete games (41) and third all-time in Presbyterian history in wins (38).
As a freshman, Greene set the program’s single-game record for most innings pitched (12.0) and strikeouts (18) in a 4-3 win over Butler University.
“It was always a goal of mine to break records, but I never expected to achieve them during my junior year,” Greene said.
“My main goal for next year with the team is to go back to the conference tournament and do better than we did this year,” she closed. “We want to play for a conference championship. My personal goal is to continue to do what I’m best at to help the team win.”
Greene is a psychology and religion major, and plans to complete an occupational therapy program following graduation.