Jenny Gilbert is the 3-time Mid American Conference Softball Player of the Year, one of only 11 players in NCAA Division 1 history to earn their conference player of the year award three times. The senior outfielder's career has been amazing as you can see by the many accolades in her Ball State Softball Player Profile. She is a member of the Canadian National Softball Team and was recently drafted by the Akron Racers. She is currently in 8th place for the most career home runs (74) hit in NCAA Division 1 Softball. I could go on and on. I didn't know who she was until my daughter was being recruited by Ball State. Now she's Hayley's teammate.
In this close game with her college softball career coming to an end, Gilbert went 0-4 at the plate.
The MAC tournament began yesterday. Ball State won the regular season MAC Championship, but only the winner of the MAC tournament will get a bid in the NCAA tournament. Last year they also entered the tournament as the #1 overall seed, but failed to win the tournament. In their first game versus Miami (OH) they were victorious by a score of 7-4. The game had some anxious moments for the Cardinals though as the Redhawks threatened several times to get back into the game. In this close game with her college softball career coming to an end, Gilbert went 0-4 at the plate.
I watched the game live on the MAC website, where most of the remaining games will be broadcast as well. The very potent Cardinals' offense, while not at their best, did manage to get enough timely hits to win the game. Coach Perry called it, "a great team game with everybody making a contribution." You see, many other players stepped it up getting the hits and scoring the runs. Gilbert is not unlike any other star athlete. It just goes to show you that no matter how good you are, nobody's perfect.
What the offensive stats from the game do not show are the 2 ESPN Top Ten plays Gilbert made in the game. She made 2 diving catches in left field, one in foul territory and the other in the left-center gap. Both ended Miami scoring threats. Had she been consumed in any frustrations about her hitting, do you think she would have made those plays? The stars of the team absolutely can carry a team through the season. But when they fail, it's up to the rest of the team to get it done. And that's one of the measures of great teams.
After watching Jenny play for the last 2 years I am confident she will be successful today and for the rest of the tournament. She's one of those players who everybody pays a lot more attention to when she's in up to bat. If you blink, you might miss one of her bombs.