MISSOULA – It may seem strange reading this, but softball season is underway and the Montana Grizzlies have their first home game coming up this Saturday, March 16. As the home-opener nears, there is one UM sophomore who is off to a hot start at the plate.
Jessica McAlister finished 2018 batting .256 in 44 games and already in 2019 is batting .339 in 22 games. So far the sophomore credits her success this year to the seniors from last season.
“Definitely from last season, I think it’s just a matter of being comfortable, able to think during the game. Last year I was kind of just going with the flow following what the seniors did and they left such a good mark that I am able to carry that over this season,” said McAlister. “Definitely just able to breathe and able to play and just being more prepared on what to do and knowing what to do.”
Head coach Melanie Meuchel says whether it’s at the plate or in the field, McAlister has been an important piece to the early-season puzzle for the Griz.
“Whether it is offensive, defensive, whether it’s just her presence as a person being around, she just is a spark plug for us,” Meuchel said. “She’s a great hitter, she is somebody that has been very consistent for us and has a great approach and is driving balls that she knows that she can drive. She’s hitting balls better around the zone that she knows she can hit and she’s finding holes with them. She has a good presence and is a really tough out for our opposing pitchers and just kind of adds that confidence to our offense.”
Montana (5-20) hosts Utah Valley (6-8) in a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. The Grizzlies will look to snap a four-game losing streak.