UCCS sophomore does it all for country, Mountain Lion softball

By Joe Paisley - Colorado Springs Gazette published April 27, 2013

Time management may be the best skill talented Colorado-Colorado Springs softball player Emily Jennings possesses.

The Army ROTC cadet and sophomore first baseman/outfielder is an excellent student (3.8 GPA, biochemistry) and leader for the Mountain Lions (23-15-1, 18-11 league).

UCCS enters its final regular-season weekend at home against third-place CSU-Pueblo (26-14, 23-12) and first-place Colorado School of Mines (33-4-1, 24-2) Saturday and Sunday at the Four Diamonds Sports Complex.

Jennings never considered not taking on the dual commitment.

'I have always wanted to serve my country and play softball, ' Jennings said. 'UCCS allows me to do both. My Mom and Dad, brother and sister have all been in the military so I grew up with that lifestyle. I love softball and being on this team. '

The first-team Gazette preps honoree does it with a not-so-quiet determination.

'She gets really amped up and helps us get back up during games, ' pitcher and roommate Korey Kulpins said of the future Army surgeon.

That drive matches the high expectations the Liberty High School graduate has for herself and her team.

Freshman Payton Kornfeind, fourth in D-2 with a .520 average, is one of the reasons the Mountain Lions are 1+ games out of second place and can finish no worse than sixth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference race.

Jennings, who can play anywhere but pitcher, is another reason they are assured of a spot in next weekend's eight-team league playoffs.

She does a little of everything for UCCS and does it well. She is seventh in the RMAC with 34 RBIs, good for 22nd in the nation (1.28 a game). She is in the Lions' top five in nine other categories, including a team-high three triples.

Her efforts help the team to the nation's third-best batting average (.360), ninth-best slugging percentage (.533) and a No. 10 ranking in the South Central Region. The top eight from the region after next weekend advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Her contributions show why she was on coach Scott Peterson's radar early.

'We knew about her since eighth grade, ' the 13th-year coach said. 'You could tell she grew up playing baseball with her aggressive style and deep understanding of the game. She gets it done in everything she does. '

She finds the time to remind teammates of student-athlete advisory council commitments, Kulpins added. She even makes good chili.

'She's on top of everything, ' Kulpins said. 'She has fun and is great to be around but I live with her and I hardly ever see her. I don't know how she does it. '

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Emily JenningsEmily Jennings24IFSo
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