By Rick Palsgrove
Home runs have been flying off the bat of Groveport Madison Cruiser varsity softball player Jessie Rock this season.
On May 5, in a 9-2 win over Reynoldsburg in Groveport, Rock hit a home run in her seventh consecutive game, breaking the previous state record of six consecutive games. Rock then extended her home run streak to eight games on May 7 during a 4-2 win over Upper Arlington. Her consecutive game home run streak ended with the Cruisers’ 10-0 tournament win over Watterson on May 9.
As of May 10, Rock has hit 13 home runs this season, several of them of the tape measure variety.
“The record is only important if it helps the team to win. It’s all about the team,” said Rock after the game. “It feels good.”
Rock hit her record breaking home run over the left field fence in the fifth inning and into a stiff wind blowing in from left field.
“It was a fastball inside,” said Rock of the pitch she hit over the fence to break the record. “I hit the ball right where I had to.”
Groveport Madison head softball coach Chris Downing said of Rock, “She’s outstanding. This shows her consistency. As soon as I heard her hit the ball I knew it was going over the fence.”
Rock, a junior, credited her power surge this year to her off season training. She said she only hit one home run last season and four as a freshman.
“The weight lifting in the off season helped a lot,” said Rock.
When asked how many more home runs she could hit in the season’s remaining games, Rock said she doesn’t think in terms of hitting home runs while batting. In addition to her home run power, Rock also maintains a high batting average as, prior to the Reynoldsburg game, she was hitting .423.
“I go up to the plate thinking about getting a base hit. If the home run comes, it comes,” said Rock.
The young Cruiser softball team, which only had three senior players, finished the regular season with a 15-10 record and upped that to 16-10 with their first round tournament win over Watterson.