Butler University's Jenna Foreman not stopped by ACL injury
Jenna Foreman had an uphill start to her college softball career as the Winfield, Illinois native suffered an ACL injury during her senior season at West Chicago Community High School, which affected her initial season at Butler University (BU).
The freshman still appeared in 39 games this year for the Bulldogs, starting 12, but the recovery and rehab from the knee injury kept her somewhat limited during her initial transition to the college game. This put her at a slight disadvantage in her development at the start of the year.
"She was coming off of an ACL injury out of high school," Butler head coach Scott Hall told the DuPage Policy Journal. "She missed most of her senior high school season, then was rehabbing throughout the fall, so she really came in behind the eight ball injury-wise, so a lot of those 39 games, she was used as a pinch runner, pinch hitter, things like that."
Foreman only hit .148 at the plate this year for the Bulldogs, garnering just four hits on 27 at bats throughout the season, but it was her success as a pinch runner where she began to turn the coaching staff's heads. She stole 11 bases and blossomed into one of the team's biggest weapons running the base paths. That's the exact Jenna Foreman the staff had in mind when they went after her in high school.
"She's a speed kid; that's why we recruited her," Hall said. "She's got great speed. I think she was second or third on the team in stolen bases, and wasn't thrown out very much."
BU had a great year this season. The Bulldogs won their first Big East title and made their first NCAA tournament. And while they were ousted early in the NCAA tourney with back-to-back losses to Kentucky and Illinois, they still managed to finish with a 28-24 overall record, the best for BU in five years. Despite her slow start, Foreman managed to contribute to that record once she got her feet wet.
In addition to her adept base stealing, Foreman helped the Bulldogs' cause by also scoring 12 runs on the season. As she moves into her sophomore year, Hall will be looking for her to take her game to another level as an all-round threat, not just on the bases.
"We're looking for consistency," Hall said. "Increasing her game IQ, her on-base percentage when she gets at bats and defensively, just being able to make all the routine plays. We really hold all of our players accountable just to become better softball players."
Hall said he expects his team to be right back in the mix for another conference title again next year, and if Foreman has officially put the ACL injury in the rear view mirror, she'll have a fantastic opportunity to contribute even more to the Bulldog's success moving forward. A full offseason this summer instead of rehab should certainly help Foreman in her development as a complete player.
"It's just one of those things where she had to get healthy again and has to catch back up to where she should be," Hall said. "If she can continue to develop her skill level and offense, she can really be a threat for us."
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