Prep softball: Dual aces for Esky

By Keith Shelton

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Escanaba Eskymos softball team made the 2012 state quarterfinals in large part due to the arm of their ace pitcher. That player returned for her senior year and the Eskymos are right back in the quarterfinals this season.

Codi Jenshak is still a big contributor to the team’s success, but not so much from the mound. Jaymie Frappier is now the team’s designated ace, leading some to ask, what happened?

“People aren’t used to taking out the pitcher that led them to the quarterfinals the year before. It’s almost a given that she will be the pitcher until she leaves,” acknowledged Eskymos manager John LaMarch. “But Jaymie has earned the right to be where she’s at, and it’s no disrespect to Codi. Her and Jaymie are different types of pitchers.”

Jenshak has pitched some for the Eskymos this season but has mostly played in the infield. Frappier hasn’t wavered after ascending to be the team’s top pitcher. In the regional against Cadillac and Chippewa Hills, she validated LaMarch’s decision.

Against Cadillac, Frappier allowed three hits and struck out 11. Against Tawas, the sophomore scattered 10 hits and struck out two.

“It felt great,” Frappier said of the opportunity to lead her team from the mound. She said it was a lot of hard work in the offseason to get to this point.

“I had a coach over the winter and pitched 2-3 times a week, probably five hours a week,” she said. “It was all worth it.”

Being the ace of a team is an identity, and Jenshak was good at what she did throughout the 2012 season. LaMarch acknowledged it couldn’t have been an easy thing for Jenshak to step down entering her senior year, and he expressed admiration and praised Jenshak’s leadership.

“To Codi’s credit, being the ultimate team player that she is, she has taken it in stride. There wasn’t a peep out of her and we haven’t even discussed it,” he said. “It’s an unsung, un-talked about thing.

“If you read between the lines, there’s that ultimate respect that Codi is giving Jaymie. It’s really awesome to see the kids respond the way they have,” LaMarch continued. “It’s not easy to give up your spot, but it’s never been an issue. Deep down, it’s Codi’s way of telling Jaymie, you earned it, I’m with you. It’s an awesome thing.”

Jenshak said the win over Tawas in the regional was, “a great feeling, a great experience,” and that “It really doesn’t matter how we get it done, I’m just happy to win at this point.”

Jenshak was pumped to get another stab at the Swan Valley Vikings after falling to them in last year’s state quarterfinal.

“I’m excited to play them again. I like our chances and it’s going to be great to play them again.

“It will be nice to get another shot at them after what happened last year,” she added.

Jenshak seems to be relishing her new role with the team. Thanks to a strong effort, she was able to score the winning run in Saturday’s regional against Tawas. Whether on the mound or in the infield, she is just happy to contribute, exemplifying what a good teammate should be and leading by example.

“However we can do it is fine with me,” Jenshak said.