Monday, 27 July 2020 13:00

Greene leaves FGCL more confident in her pitching

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Jenna Greene (11) and her seven Squeeze teammates who made the all-star team this summer. Jenna Greene (11) and her seven Squeeze teammates who made the all-star team this summer. Contributed photo.

BRADENTON, Fla. — For five weeks this summer, Jenna Greene competed against some of the best college softball players across the country.

Last Tuesday, Greene and the Manatee Squeeze concluded their 23-game Florida Gulf Coast League schedule with a runner-up finish in the championship game.

Greene, a Hamlet native and a rising sophomore pitcher at Presbyterian College, used her summer to better develop her craft from the circle. She made 13 appearances for the Squeeze, including nine starts, and picked up a 9-1 record.

“It was such a fun summer league and I really enjoyed it,” Greene said. “We played a lot of games which gave me a chance to play against a high level of competition. I faced girls who play for ACC, Big 10 and SEC teams, and I’m grateful for the experience.

“I don’t think I’d have gotten this type of playing experience anywhere else,” she added. “I really played at the highest level I could this summer.”

After a shortened freshman season at PC that saw Greene tied for second in the country in wins (13) and third in shutouts (6), she was hoping to use the summer league to continue her growth as a pitcher.

Three different things she wanted to work on were her ability to throw consistently against tough hitters, grasp a better command of her pitches in different situations and work on pitch calling. Of those goals, she said she “definitely met them.”

The benefit of playing each team “three or four times” gave Greene a chance to face batters up numerous times. That, she said, really helped her pitching and allowed her to adjust to different situations and try new things.

Helping her accomplish those goals was battery mate Abi Stuart (Clemson), who caught Greene not only this summer, but for several years of travel ball, too. 

“We were already familiar with each other, so our chemistry made things easier,” Greene explained. “I was lucky to have her behind the plate because it gave me the confidence to try new things out with my pitching.”

Of the seven softball teams in the FGCL, Greene was second in the league with 88 strikeouts, just one behind leader Shannon Saile (Oklahoma). 

Greene led the Squeeze in innings pitched (61.2 innings) and had a 2.49 earned run average over her 13 appearances. She also pitched three complete games and had a strike percentage of 59.4 percent.

The Squeeze, which was made up of players from Clemson, Florida Atlantic, Louisville, Northwestern, Penn State, Washington and Wisconsin, came up a run short against the River Mocs in the championship game, 10-9.

Part of the way through the summer league, the FGCL held an all-star event, which saw Greene and seven of her Squeeze teammates selected.

“It was a really fun game and there were a ton of fans there,” she said of the all-star event. “I threw one inning, but it was a really good experience to be able to represent the league and Presbyterian.”

Greene’s parents, Jeff and Jennifer Greene, were able to catch the majority of her season, something she said was an added bonus.

“My favorite part of the whole summer was just being able to hang out with my teammates and coaches,” Greene shared. “I love my teammates and getting to experience this with them and try new things really made it the best experience.

“I also love my coaches,” she added of Mario Hernandez and Carsyn Gordon. “They weren’t very strict and treated it like a summer league. They made me feel comfortable and taught me a lot, especially with confidence on the mound.”

Greene’s biggest takeaway from her time in Florida was the boost in her confidence, something she hopes to bring back to PC when her sophomore season begins.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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