Softball: Northwestern pitcher breaks Mom’s strikeout record

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Senior tops her mom's record in win over Bellefontaine

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Jenna Robbins knew she was close to becoming Northwestern’s all-time softball strikeout leader. It would have been hard not to know, since the previous record holder lives in the same house.

Robbins struck out the side for the Warriors in the first inning Wednesday against Bellefontaine, moving her to 545 all-time strikeouts. She surpassed her mother, Jodi Robbins (nee Noffke), an all-state pitcher in the early 1990s who had 542 career strikeouts.

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“When I broke it, she started crying,” Robbins said of her mother. “She was upset that it was broke but glad that it was me.”

Robbins moved to third base after the first inning, and Miranda Gillman took over in the circle to help lead Northwestern to a 7-3 win. It’s the 12th consecutive victory for the Warriors (19-2) and their 12th against a Central Buckeye Conference opponent. They’ve already secured their fifth consecutive CBC Mad River Division title.

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“We like where we’re at, for sure,” Robbins said. “We started out with a few bumps, but we’ve got back up and we’re doing really good. I think we’re hitting our peak.”

Robbins, a junior, has been instrumental in the team’s success. She’s third in the CBC with 132 strikeouts and has the second-best ERA (0.60) of any pitcher in the league. Her hitting has been superb as well — she leads the CBC in RBI’s (41) and is second in home runs (7). Robbins has 17 career home runs, which is also a school record.

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“She’s a workhorse and wants to improve each game,” Northwestern coach Missy Johnson said. “She ended up focusing more on softball this year, and I think it’s paid off and made her even better.”

Northwestern junior pitcher Jenna Robbins winds up during a game against Graham on April 17. Robbins broke the school’s all-time strikeout record during the first inning of a game against Bellefontaine on Wednesday. BRYANT BILLING / CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Northwestern junior pitcher Jenna Robbins winds up during a game against Graham on April 17. Robbins broke the school’s all-time strikeout record during the first inning of a game against Bellefontaine on Wednesday. BRYANT BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

Robbins, who has a .456 batting average, has plenty of help with hitting. Gillman, Maddie Current, Abby Zerkle and Jamie Rutherford all bat over .400 and have on-base percentages of .449 or better.

With solid pitching, hitting, and fielding, Johnson thinks Northwestern has a shot of another deep tournament run. The Warriors have won a district title three years in a row and advanced to the Division III regional finals last year, where they lost 4-2 to Johnstown-Monroe.

“I think as close as they came to state last year is motivating them,” Johnson said. “Hopefully that’s what we’re able to accomplish.”

Northwestern was voted as the No. 1 seed in the Northmont Div. II sectional and will open postseason play next Monday against No. 12 Bethel. But first, the Warriors will tune-up for tournament play on Saturday with a doubleheader on the road against Northmont (14-8).