Every time senior slugger Jenny Scherer knocks one out of the park this season, she breaks the Eastern Michigan University softball record for most career home runs.
Scherer, an outfielder, continues to shatter her own record, with 44 home runs to date, after initially breaking the record of 24 during her junior season.
“She’s always got that potential to not just hit a home run, but to knock them out of the park. She’s had a couple of multi-home run games in her career, so she’s capable of doing it time and time again,” interim coach Eric Oakley said.
During her four years at EMU, Scherer has experienced success in many ways.
She was part of the 2007 Eagles’ Mid-American Conference Championship team, as a freshman starter.
“She’s contributed both offensively and defensively,” Oakley said. “ She’s been one of our top offensive producers the last few years. She’s led the team in home runs and she’s had good batting average. Last year, she not only broke the career home-run record very early in her junior year, but she also broke the record for single season home runs.”
Scherer doesn’t let her accomplishments go to her head. In fact, when asked what her tally was for career home runs, she couldn’t give a definite answer.
“I didn’t really realize it, I don’t know, it felt good to accomplish that, but I’m just in it everyday for the team,” Scherer said. “Anything personally that happens to me is just because I’m doing it for the team.”
Assistant coach Ashley Strauss, a 2008 EMU alum, was a teammate of Scherer’s for two seasons.
“She’s very humble,” Strauss said. “That’s a good quality to have. She’s very appreciative of every day, being able to play softball and I think that that’s one of the things that makes her stand out to me.”
Scherer claimed the career home run title from another former teammate.
Strauss compared her fellow Eagles: “I played with Lauren Clark. She was an All-American. She’s a great player, and I think Jenny’s right up there with her. I know she hasn’t gotten as much accolades and recognition as Lauren did, but she’s just as deserving, and is one of the best that I’ve had the privilege to play with.”
As a freshman, Scherer made the All-MAC Freshman team and first team All-MAC and was selected for second team All-MAC, her sophomore and junior years. She received multiple MAC West player of the week awards, started nearly every game during her four years at EMU and consistently leads the Eagles in home runs, total bases and runs-batted in. In 2009 she led the MAC in each of those categories. Aside from holding the EMU record for most career home runs, she beat the record for most home runs in a single season, with 14 last year.
EMU has had somewhat of a slow start to the 2010 season. Sherer has been relatively quiet, although she leads the team with eight home runs so far this season.
“I’d like to see her just relax and get into her zone and just play softball the way she’s been playing it for the last three years. She’s a player that every coach in the MAC knows and every team knows they have to be aware of, because she can dominate a game.”
The Eagles are confident they can turn the season around.
“I don’t know that it’s gone exactly the way we wanted it, and I don’t know that Jenny’s had exactly the senior year that she wanted so far, but we’re in a very good position right now, where we have 14 games left in the MAC, 10 of them at home,” Oakley said. ”So, we’re in a good position to make a run for the MAC Tournament and the MAC Championship, and her skills obviously are gonna be a big part of that.”
Scherer said her personal goal for the season is to win a MAC Championship.
“We did my freshman year,” she said. “I wanna leave my four years winning another MAC championship. We started off kind of slow, you know. Personally I haven’t been doing what I wanted to be doing but I’m gonna get there, we’re gonna get there. I feel like we’re on the path.”
Along with winning a championship, Scherer has made many lifelong memories during her time at EMU.
“One I remember is, two years ago, my sophomore year, on Senior Day we were down against Ohio and going into the seventh inning. We were down by one run and I just remember getting a home run to tie the game, and I just wanted to do it for the seniors, keep them in the game so we could win.“
During her sophomore year, she was also the first softball player in EMU history to hit for the cycle.
“That game, I just felt really good and next thing I know, after my second at-bat because I had a home run and a triple, people were like ‘uh oh’,” she joked. “Then I hit a double and, next thing I know, I had a single and it was just, I don’t know, it’s a great feeling. It was an amazing experience.”
The sisterly bond adds to the team chemistry.
“They’re very close and they bring that kind of family touch to the team I think,” Oakley said. “I think that’s maybe something we don’t recognize enough, that the girls are very close, and I think that having actually two sisters on the team, and both are very exuberant and, you know, aren’t afraid to show their feelings, and I think that kind of helps build that atmosphere.”
Jenny and her sister, Allison, played together in high school as well.
“It’s a blessing, like my parents love it,” Jenny said. “It’s really nice because we get along so great, we’re really close and it’s like a dream come true because we were like that in high school, and then for her to come to Eastern too it’s just a blessing.”
The sisters never really expected to play together at the college level, but they both seem to appreciate the experience.
“I committed here because of the coaches and the girls, especially my sister, because it’d be easier on my parents to come watch us.”
The Scherers are from Stow, Ohio, so their parents don’t get to visit very often, and the sisters can rely on each other for support away from home.
“I loved it in high school and I love it here,” Allison said. “We’re very competitive with each other and it’s actually a good experience. We pushed each other a lot and it helped me get to where I am actually, today.”
Jenny Scherer is a two-year captain who leads by example.
“She’s a lot of fun, she’s very energetic,” Oakley said. “She comes running in after every defensive inning. She’ll run, you know she’s got maybe the furthest run in to get to the huddle, and she comes sprinting in and is very vocal in the huddles and really tries to energize the team and tries to get them to follow her lead.”
Her sister agreed: “She’s a very good leader. She has our back, as a captain. She’ll stick up for you, and then, if you do bad she’s always there for you … She’s just an inspiration, she has been ever since I was little.”
Jenny Scherer is inspiring both on-and-off the field. In 2009 she was an Academic All-MAC selection. She graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and said she plans to get a Master of Sports Management so she can coach Division I college softball.
“I can’t give it up,” she said.
Scherer said she was thankful to EMU for being here for her to enjoy four years.
“I decided to come to Eastern because of the girls. When I came here they were really welcoming and I could just see myself in an Eastern Michigan jersey, opposed to all the other teams and places I went to visit,” she said. “My favorite thing is mainly the players, and just the environment around our field. People can just, fans can just come out and sit in the outfield and have a good time.”
Scherer and the Eagles will play six consecutive games at home, starting at 1 p.m. today, with a doubleheader against Ohio University.