Jimmies' Abby Blair staying positive ahead of GPAC tournament

May 1—JAMESTOWN — While nobody can always be perfect on the field, University of Jamestown pitcher Abby Blair thrives in her ability to bounce back.

Blair said she is reading a book called "Relentless" and it helps give her the attitude that if she does ground out four times in a row, the fifth time she comes to the plate, she will get on base.

"So it's just seeing OK, grounder, what can I learn from that, taking what you learned from it and applying it to the next at-bat," Blair said. "But, letting go, not thinking about it negatively or not beating myself up because that's not gonna be positive for the team and it's not gonna do anything for us in the game as we're playing it."

Blair, a sophomore, is part of a pitching staff with a team ERA of 2.30. This season, Blair is 10-7 with the 1.82 ERA (second lowest on the team), a 1.26 WHIP and 51 strikeouts on the mound. At the plate, she has a .400 average with five doubles, one home run and nine RBIs.

"She's had her ups and downs," Jimmies head coach Kevin Gall said. "She's given us some good innings in the circle and certainly she's been able to produce a little for us offensively. I think the more she's able to be in the lineup, the better she's going to do. She's got great ability and just getting more mentally tough in the program and maturing in the program and having some good days and some bad days and understanding where it all fits in the grand scheme of life is really important and I think that the best days are ahead for her but you've got to stick to the process and continue being a good teammate and continue being a proponent of the psychology of the game. It's super important that she keeps growing. It's gonna be fun to watch her in a year or two if she's able to do that."

One challenge that Blair and most spring sport student-athletes are facing is getting ready for the postseason while also preparing for finals exams. The Jimmies finished the regular season on April 27 at Morningside University.

Blair said the time on the bus allowed her to study for her tests. Blair said one challenge that she and her teammates are dealing with is trying to take tests before they left for Iowa on Tuesday, April 30.

"It helped in a way being on the bus going to Morningside because personally for me, I was able to study that whole way there and back on my Quizlet, utilizing my time on the bus; overall time management I would say," Blair said. "... But in a way it helps us work harder, for me, it helps me focus more knowing I have less time but it's kind of what you make of it I think."

The exercise science major said she made checklists and went through her schedule as she navigates practices and tests.

The No. 6-seed Jimmies open the GPAC Tournament at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, against Dordt University.

"I'm excited," Blair said. "I look forward to it. Last year, we didn't get the outcome we expected or wanted. This year, I see us being a team that's pretty gritty and when it comes down to it, we're battling at the end of these games and I can see us winning a couple of these games, getting to the championship Saturday, I believe and fighting for that game and fighting for that game as well."

Gall said he expects his team to stay disciplined and play well in all areas of the game.

The Defenders swept the Jimmies on March 27, which gives Gall and his team an idea of how to play their first-round opponents.

"They're free swingers," Gall said. "I think they have a dangerous lineup, even though they don't necessarily have gaudy numbers. Their lineup is such that they could give you problems if you don't pitch them properly. So their pitcher (Chloe Kreuz) is a freshman, she's pretty confident in herself so she poses some problems. I think that we played into their hands a little bit in the first meeting and had some lucky breaks happen where ... we induced a ground ball but it found it's way up the middle. They're a good team but we're hoping that we have things go our way more often than not in this meeting and good lord willing we come out on top."

The game against the Defenders was originally scheduled to take place at Midland University but has been moved to the Defenders' American State Bank Sports Complex. While she said she enjoys pitching in the Dordt indoor arena, Blair said one of the challenges it could potentially present are having the balls bounce off the turf in ways that it doesn't on an outdoor field. Blair said her team's fielders will be ready to deal with that challenge because they have experience fielding on the turf at the Nelson Family Bubble. Blair said the material that the Defenders' bubble is made out of allows less light to get through which will help her and her teammates.

This year, the Jimmies are 19-3 when scoring first, which is something that Blair said the team will need to do to have success in the tournament.

Blair said she will be continue to follow her road-game routine of working out and staying ready to go. She said she will lift weights and practice before they get on the bus to go to Dordt.

In order to go on a deep run, Blair said she and her teammates have to stay locked in and stay together.