Jenna Ergle: From BC to MC / Jace Aymond

Photo: Avery Barnett (#16) is encouraged by Jenna Ergle (#33, center), Jordan LaFosse (#6), and Brooke Fagan (#9, right) during their game against Lincoln Memorial in Huntsville, Alabama.

For athletic programs in the Gulf South Conference, and across the entire Division II landscape, transfer athletes are invaluable because of their matured mindset and previous collegiate playing experience, no matter what level they come from. 

Typically, those transferring to play for Mississippi College come from junior and community colleges across the states of Mississippi and Alabama. However, sometimes a special player from a much bigger school falls into a program’s lap like a gift from above. For the Lady Choctaw softball team, that gift is Jenna Ergle.

The graduate student from the small town of Sumiton, Alabama, racked up countless awards during her high school career at Sumiton Christian School. The two-time All-American, multiple-time all-state selection, and the 2014 National High School Softball Freshman was recruited heavily from universities all over the country. After much consideration, it was Boston College where she chose to continue her education and softball career.

Although she didn’t choose it because it was similar to her last name, Ergle shone brightly in the four seasons she spent with the Eagles, who are a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 2019, she started in 43 games where she hit .220 and 15 RBI’s after missing the season prior due to injury. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, she started all 21 contests and even led the team with four home runs while hitting an even .200. Last year, although her playing time and batting percentage slightly dropped, it was time for Ergle to call somewhere else home for her graduate studies and step onto a fresh field. Luckily, that place was here in Clinton.

“I took it as a learning opportunity,” said Ergle of her time at BC. “I’m thankful to have gotten a great education there and I think it set me up to feel like I could make a huge impact with this team and academics. I grew as a person at BC, and I’m so thankful for that.” 

With all her success, why MC? For Ergle, it was the whole package. From a singular person’s mindset, the master’s program, and the Christian atmosphere that surrounds the entire campus, it truly was a perfect fit.

“When I came on my visit last summer, Coach O’Hair told me that she’s looking to create a team to make it all the way to the end, but also create a family. In just a few hours we talked that day, I could tell that she really did want to see me grow not just as a player, but as a person.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m able to be in my faith and able to represent a school and a religion that’s bigger than myself. I’m also getting my master’s in Administration of Justice and I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Porter. Just being able to sit and talk with him about the program for a few minutes made me realize that all I ever wanted was to be in a program like that and MC gave me every opportunity to make it happen.”

Many would think that the switch from Division I to Division II softball would be a major downgrade, but the new Lady Choctaw wearing number 33 sees many more positives.

“At the end of the day, it’s the same game between the same lines; it’s passionate women wanting to play the game. I mean, of course there’s a little difference. You may not get the noticeable names or the Division I hype, but I think that’s one of the things I like about being in Division II is that you get to make it for yourself that way. You go out there and you want to represent your school and you want to be well-known, so that’s something that’s admirable across all divisions and it’ll never change.”

Already in the few games to start the season for the Lady Choctaws, Ergle has proved that she is one of the leaders on the already strong MC roster. In the dominant 17-6 win over No. 5 North Georgia in Gulf Shores, she had a career game with three hits, five runs scored, two RBI’s, and a home run to top it all off.

On how her first few games went with the team in Alabama, Ergle said that even with their 2-2 record in that span, “After the way we played, I know that we have so much potential for the season. They were tough losses on Sunday [against Nova Southeastern and Columbus State], but we were fighting the whole way and I think that really encouraged us as a team just to see that even down to the last out we were fighting all the way through it. I think it’s a really good token to take forward into the season.”

After their Gulf Shores trip, the Lady Choctaws played an additional five games in Huntsville, Alabama, for the Charger Chillout. They dropped contests to both Young Harris College, 6-1, and Carson-Newman in a 9-8 extra innings clash. They keep a winning record heading out of their preseason tournaments at now 5-4, beating Tuskegee University 14-4, Southern Indiana 14-4, and a major victory over No. 13 Lincoln Memorial 14-10 in a game that went all the way to 10 innings.

Ergle started in all nine contests with a .273 batting average, six RBI’s, and two home runs to her name. For an MC team that made it all the way to the conference tournament championship game last season, Ergle and the experience she brings will no doubt prove to give the Lady Choctaws a massive boost as the season progresses  They head into the GSC opener at West Alabama with their home opening series against Spring Hill a few days later. Their first home conference series is against Christian Brothers on Feb. 26-27 and their biggest test of the season against No. 2 Valdosta State is exactly a month later here at home. It’s safe to say that the former BC Eagle is more than ready to soar with her new squad at MC with their successful start to 2022.

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