High school softball: No-hitters no sweat for Jennah Speth
Ask Jennah Speth how many no-hitters she threw a year ago, and she’s not able to give a specific number.
One? Maybe two?
The Delavan-Darien High sophomore softball pitcher helped the Comets win a WIAA Division 2 regional title, and she’s much more interested in talking about that team feat than her own.
Speth already has two no-hitters this season in helping Delavan-Darien to a 5-1 record heading into Easter weekend. She’s much more comfortable talking about the overall record than her own.
“I’m more about team stats; no-hitters aren’t really that important to me,” Speth said. “It’s the team getting the win, the team scoring all the runs. I think growing up playing all the time with a whole bunch of different teams, you have to learn that this is a team sport and you can’t really do it by yourself.”
A 4-0 Southern Lakes Conference loss on Thursday night was the Comets’ first.
They’ve generally given Speth plenty of run support, thanks to an overall team batting average north of .400.
“Coming into this season, we knew that we were better than last year’s team—we knew we had better hitters and a more solid defense behind me,” Speth said. “I think that we knew we were going to do well, but I don’t think we knew we’d come out as strong as we are right now.
Through the first five games, Speth was 4-0 with a 0.81 ERA, 38 strikeouts and seven walks in 26 innings pitched.
“She’s been smarter with her pitches,” Delavan-Darien head coach Hank Johnson said. “She’s grown up a lot, she’s throwing faster and she’s got better command right now. And the defense is playing great behind her, which she’ll be the first to say that.”
Speth says she and the Comets are driven by the taste of a somewhat successful postseason run last year, as well as a disappointing girls basketball season.
Playing for a club softball team, the Illinois Chill, has Speth honing her game nearly year-round, but she’s also encouraged to play other high school sports.
“I think it helps in building and learning how to work as a team,” Speth said. “We didn’t come out how we thought we were going to (in basketball), and I think that helped me become a better person. It helped to stay positive with softball.
“The first day of practice, we came in, and the girls that played last year, we said that we know we could have gone farther. Now we want to get back and go farther and prove a point that Delavan sports are getting better.”
Johnson has seen Speth grow both on the diamond and off.
Pitchers tend to get more than their share of the glory, especially when they’re as dominant as Speth has proven to be over her first two seasons. But she doesn’t seem to be basking in the limelight.
“She’s just worrying about what she needs to get done and not having to worry about her teammates,” Johnson said. “And her teammates love it, because they’re picking her up right now.
“We’re only (six) games into the season. I can’t wait to see where she’s at toward the end of the year.”