Hitting at a .472 clip with five home runs through the first 11 games of the 2017 prep softball season, Silver Creek's Jetta Nannen still felt like she could do better.
Only a junior, Nannen felt as though she was a leader on the Raptors — and when they reached that point with a 6-4-1 record as a team that in preseason was talked about so heavily, the overdrive kicked in mentally and physically.
Just a little more than one month later, Nannen and the Raptors found themselves making school history by slugging their way to the Class 4A state semifinals.
An excellent overhaul team-wide was the main reason — the Raptors' defensive effort was considerably better the last half of the season — but it was Nannen's inspired play at the plate, in the pitching circle and on the corner infield that headed the charge.
For her efforts, she has been named the BoCoPreps.com softball player of the year.
"I actually had to change my philosophy a lot this year just because I had a rough first part of the season," said Nannen, who went on to hit .600 the rest of the way and finish at .543. "I really had to focus on hitting the ball and moving runners and scoring those girls ... home runs are fun and stuff, but I was taught that it's better to hit and score a runner than always try to hit a home run.
"It took me a while to get there, but I got there finally."
Did she ever. Nannen, who also hit .571 last year, had 11 consecutive multi-hit games to end the season. That included five playoff games against top-tier squads Mullen, Pueblo West, Conifer, Valor Christian and Pueblo Central.
She didn't stop hitting home runs entirely — finishing with 10 blasts to bring her career total to 22.
For Nannen, being dependable in the pitching circle meant just as much and it was equally important for her to re-tool — in her own mind — the second half of the year.
Silver Creek head coach Ryan Beavers utilized three pitchers effectively this season, but Nannen was the one that got the ball handed to her for the toughest assignments. She finished 7-5 with 3.36 earned-run average, but her playoff stats again were cream-rising-to-the-top good.
In 21 ⅔ innings for the postseason, she allowed 11 runs (just three earned) and struck out 20 batters against just three walks. That includes out-pitching Valor Christian's Ali Kilponen in the quarterfinals, getting redemption for last year by going six strong innings against the Eagles and holding them to a single run.
"We had some of the best pitching depth in the state," Nannen added. "Just like it was for me hitting ... towards the end of the season I really felt like I got my stuff figured out. I think it came out to a good outcome.
"That was kind of our target the whole season, getting another chance at Valor because we came up short against them the year before. Ali is an amazing pitcher and she's done some amazing things, but we had a mindset that we could hit her and we could win this game. For us girls, it was again just proving to ourselves that we could do what we believed in our hearts we could do."