Wisconsin softball: Kelsey Jenkins, Badgers shine in successful 2016 season

To lead a softball team in seven major hitting categories, including home runs, stolen bases and batting average, could be called the season of a lifetime. For UW sophomore Kelsey Jenkins, it was just her 2016.

Jenkins led the Badgers to an impressive season, as they went 28-24 before falling to Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. They finished with a conference record of 11-11.

Starting off the season strong, they won some key games against tough teams at the Kajikawa Classic and continued that trend throughout the season and into conference play.

This season was undoubtedly one of the better conference seasons in program history. Despite a 9th place finish, the team boasted a first team All Big Ten star in Jenkins and a second-teamer in Taylor-Paige Stewart. Since head coach Yvette Healy was installed in 2011, the team has had 5 winning seasons out of 6.

Jenkins highlighted the team’s major improvement over a 21-31 (5-17) record last year. The sophomore managed to draw 49 walks this season, which broke her record of 42 from the 2015 season. She had multiple hits in 16 straight games and ended the season with a .411 batting average. She recorded a season-high four hits against Minnesota and sent seven pitches over the fence this year, bringing her home run total to 13 in just the two years she’s played for the Badgers.

Jenkins managed to snag the NFCA Great Lakes All-Region honors for the 2016 season, and has previously participated on the 2015 Canadian Junior Women’s National Team. In 2015, she was the first freshman in UW history to be named First-team All-Big Ten.

With Jenkins coming into next year as a junior, the Badgers can look to her for her strong bat and continued leadership on this team.

Photo courtesy of uwbadgers.com

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