Athlete of the week: Courtney Jensen, Elk River, softball: Singular purpose

by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor

The highlight of Courtney Jensen’s softball career was an at-bat in the 2013 state finals that was so typical of what she’s done for four years.

With Jayme Langbehn on second base in the top of the eighth against Prior Lake, Jensen stroked a soft line drive over the second baseman, scoring Langbehn on a close play, the decisive run in a 4-3 victory that brought the Elks the state championship.

Jensen’s 93 career hits include 86 singles and seven doubles, but despite the lack of long-ball power, she has driven home 58 runs. She’s one of three Elks chosen for the state all-star series next weekend.

Courtney Jensen hit .354 this year, and .314 in a four-year career with 58 RBI's. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Courtney Jensen hit .354 this year, and .314 in a four-year career with 58 RBI’s. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Last year Jensen hit .333 with 17 RBIs. She went 5-for-10 at state with two game-winners, the other an infield hit, and made the all-tournament team. This year she batted .354 while driving home a career-high 19 runs.

“I haven’t hit a homer yet. I’ve come close. That’s something I’d like to do,” said Jensen. “But I always get RBIs.”

The 5-foot-5, 145-pound Jensen has been the Elks first baseman three years after one year in the outfield. She hit .355 as a freshman, slipped to .233 as a sophomore and bounced back with two more strong years. With a .314 career average and 45 runs, she’s been a Miss Reliable in a strong program.

“Courtney is just a very consistent hitter. She has a good eye. She goes up the middle a lot,” coach Stacey Sheetz said. “She is also an awesome first baseman. She reads the throws and she’s a really good scooper (of low throws).”

Jensen’s other sport is dance team, which, she said, helped her find a softball position.

“That’s why I’m a first baseman,” she said. “Being a dancer helps me make the big stretch.”

Dancing also foiled her attempt to be a pitcher. She got some varsity innings in ninth grade, but Sheetz noticed that her devotion to dance in fall and winter kept her from throwing in the offseason “and you could tell.” However, moving to another position has obviously worked out well.

A dancer for 12 years, she had to quit halfway through her senior season with a hip injury. “I had to make sure I was OK for softball,” she said.

Jensen feels fortunate to play for the Elks, who were 70-29 in her career.

“Yes, it’s been great, especially with our coaches, who are so involved with us and bring so much energy,” Jensen said. “I’ve played with about half these girls since tee ball. I don’t know how I could get along without them.”

 

THE JENSEN SCORECARD

Courtney Jensen

Courtney Jensen

Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents Mike and Kris; sister Kiele … Sports: dance team, softball … Other activities: yearbook, DECA, French Club … Academics: 3.1 GPA … College plans: MN-Mankato, health sciences, occupational therapy

Favorite stuff — Class: yearbook, English grammar …. TV shows: “The Voice,” college softball on ESPN … Music: country … Best book read lately: “Heaven Is For Real” … Team: Twins, Murray State (Ky.) softball (“my cousin is their coach”) … Athlete: Joe Mauer … Food: pasta … Drink: Dr Pepper … Wants to visit: Greek islands

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