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Jenelle Trautmann is Smashing Home Runs into the Record Book

Jenelle Trautman blasted three home runs last Friday against Concordia-Paul to become Augustana’s all-time home run leader.

And she’s only a junior.

In game one of the doubleheader, Trautmann hit her record-breaking 44th long ball of the season in the first inning. She recalls the moment after she broke Augustana’s home run record previously held by Theresa McMahon (2010-2013). 

“You know I wasn’t feeling anything, but when I went around the bases, I knew when Coach Mook came out to me and gave me a big hug, it was a great feeling that I have other people that are going to be there and were happy for me that I broke the career home run record.”

Four innings later in the fifth, she smashed her 45th round-tripper over the Bowden Field scoreboard, and shattered a car’s sun roof. In the sixth inning, Trautmann hit her 46th souvenir of the season, and her 47th on Saturday against Minnesota-State Mankato. On the season, she has 11 home runs.

Trautmann is a dangerous hitter, and opponents have to choose to pitch to her, or around her. When she steps up to the plate, she says she goes about her business and tries to  get a hit or on base.

“I go up to the plate with a presence, and how I look at the pitcher, you know, it’s kind of like they have known me from my past experiences with them. They are either going to pitch around me and go towards another great hitter that’s behind me, which I don’t know why they would do that. (laughs) They either have to pitch to both of us, but I am just so glad I have a good hitter behind me because they can just both of us in.”

Senior Lindsay Spanton bats right behind Trautmann, and keeps pitchers guessing with her ability to drive in runs. She has seven home runs, and 37 RBI’s on the season. (Only Trautmann has more with 42 RBI’s). Spanton boosts Trautmann’s confidence when she’s at the plate, or on base waiting for a hit to bring her home.

“My confidence having (Lindsay Spanton) behind me is huge, like I know that if I am on base, she is going to score me every single time,” adds Trautmann.

On the mound, she is 22-5, and uses her pitching and hitting to give her balance when she’s having a good day.

“I think when she’s pitching well, I think she definitely hits well because she feels like she is on. I think it definitely helps her hitting, and feeds off of each other,” tells head coach Gretta Melsted.

While Trautmann’s talent is on display every time she takes the diamond, what fans may not know, is her ability to lead her teammates humbly.

“I lead in a way that my teammates can follow me. I try to stay humble, and that helps out with the younger kids a lot. I try to lead with my actions,” shares Trautmann.

Melsted sees Trautmann’s leadership through her endurance to get constantly get better on the mound, and at the plate.

“She is a leader in her work ethic. In how hard she works and how much she loves the game. She’s not a real vocal kid, but it’s everything she does. It’s her leading by example which makes a big difference in how she carries herself and in her confidence.”

Going deeper, Melsted cannot speak enough of how proud she is of the player Trautmann has developed into in her three seasons at Augustana.

“Jenelle works really, really hard, and that’s what she is known for. That’s kind of her marking. She might not be the most athletic kid on the planet. She might not be the most naturally gifted kid, but she works hard. She’s the nose to the grindstone kid, and is going to put in the hours. That’s why she ends up being better than all the kids. That’s what makes her special because she puts in so much time. She’s just a phenomenal pitcher. She’s a really, really good hitter, and it’s directly correlated the amount of time and energy she puts into making herself better.”

After watching Trautmann laser three bombs last weekend to break Augustana’s home run record, Melsted shares that it is really cool to see the junior’s name with all of the rest of the Vikings softball legends.

“It was special to be able to watch her do that. Especially because there have been so many players to go through the program who are so good. Kim Kouri, (probably the best player to come out of this program), Angie Hopkins, Paula U’Ren, and Geanne Tostenson. You just have player after player. Then, the Krauth sisters who were so good here, and to have Janelle to be able to come in and to have her name to be included with their’s, I think that’s really special.”

In the future, there’s no doubt that Trautmann will continue to touch ‘em all a few more times into the record books for the Vikings in her career.

*For comments, or story ideas, email Sam at tastadsam@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.

Jenelle Trautmann, Augustana Vikings softball
Augustana College

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