Summer Recap: Perry softball’s big hopes, baseball has one more shot

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief

The sunset is approaching Perry as the baseball team put the final touches on the regular season and heads into the playoffs for one last shot. Meanwhile, the Jayettes wrapped their season last week but have plenty to look forward to for 2022.

Baseball (0-22)

The Bluejays' regular season officially closed with an 8-3 loss to Nevada (3-22) on Monday. While runs have come at a premium for Perry this season, the team has proved time and again it just needs a push to get the ball rolling. In the 13 games the Bluejays have scored, five were at least three runs. That brings Perry one last opportunity to add to that statistic as the team heads to Grinnell (28-5) on Friday for the opening round of substate action. 

Drake Levan heads to the dugout during a game against Nevada on Monday, July 12 in Perry.

Grinnell has been on a tear in the past couple of weeks as the Tigers have won nine straight games since losing a doubleheader June 25 against state title hopeful Norwalk.

While the Tigers have plenty of presence at the plate led by Isiah Seck's .390 batting average and Will Darby's 27 RBI, they have an even stronger defense. Only allowing an average of 2.1 runs all season, only 11 teams — or 33 percent of games — have scored three or more runs.

Softball (8-25)

Taylor Atwell runs the bases on Saturday, June 12 during a tournament in Woodward.

So it is written: The Jayettes continue to build for the future. While the overall finish left more to be desired, the bottom line still shows positive movement from the team as a whole.

In the school's last year in the Raccoon River Conference — which earned five of eight Class 4A state tournament slots — Perry finished last with a 1-17 league record. But as the Jayettes forge ahead to the Heart of Iowa, they bring along a roster that has been battle-hardened for multiple seasons and only lose two seniors in the process.

After winning five games in 2019 and three games in 2020, the Jayettes pushed the needle in the right direction for the program's first improved win total since 2017. That quite literally started with leadoff hitter Lydia Olejniczak who led the team with 39 hits, 57 total bases and two home runs. She had quite the bounce-back year bringing her batting average up from .333 to .429 for one of the conference's biggest improvements from the 2020 season.

Ancillary to the shortstop's power, Jayna Kenney ran a tab of 34 total bases and led the team with 17 RBI. She once again led the team with the lion's share of innings pitched with a 7-18 record thanks to improved control. Her strikeout rate has gone up each year since 2019 from 2.1 to 2.8 to 4.1 K's per seven innings.

Perry's Jayna Kenney pitches on Monday, May 24 during the season opener against Carlisle.