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Bison softball player Sertic develops into top-of-the-line pitcher, community volunteer

FARGO-Like a lot of college kids in their early 20s, Jacquelyn Sertic lists her favorite singers as Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi, her favorite food as hamburgers and her favorite actress as Jennifer Anniston. Her favorite athlete, however, is some...

North Dakota State senior pitcher Jacquelyn Sertic was one of 30 softball players in Division I nominated for the NCAA 2018 Senior CLASS Award, which stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. David Samson / The Forum
North Dakota State senior pitcher Jacquelyn Sertic was one of 30 softball players in Division I nominated for the NCAA 2018 Senior CLASS Award, which stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO-Like a lot of college kids in their early 20s, Jacquelyn Sertic lists her favorite singers as Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi, her favorite food as hamburgers and her favorite actress as Jennifer Anniston. Her favorite athlete, however, is somebody most North Dakota State athletes probably don't know about.

Roberto Clemente.

The former Pittsburgh Pirates baseball star from the 1960s and 1970s was also known for his exhaustive charity work in Central America and the Carribean. You don't see Sertic, a senior softball pitcher, traveling to countries in need these days, but she has made her final year at NDSU into an all-around experience that includes a lot of community service.

She helped at the Fargo Emergency Food Pantry, rang bells for the Salvation Army and helped with causes that donated toys, money and blood. For her efforts, she was named one of 30 softball players in Division I nominated for the NCAA 2018 Senior CLASS Award, which stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. The award's motto: to encourage students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

"This year I really found that I love Fargo-Moorhead and helping out," Sertic said. "It's been a really rewarding experience and it puts a grin on my face every time we do it."

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She grins a lot off the field in and around practice. But head coach Darren Mueller said once it's game time, it's business.

"She's become more calm each year, more confident each year," he said. "And I think she's grown so much each year. Her routine when she gets prepared is very professional."

Teams are finding that out this year, like the time Sertic shut out 10th-ranked LSU 1-0 in nine innings. She struck out 10, walked two and scattered five hits.

Heading into a three-game series against South Dakota State that started Thursday, she was 16-7 with a 1.95 earned run average. Now in her third year as a regular starter, she's started 108 games, appeared in 137, with a 2.57 ERA in 740 career innings.

It's a career that will go down as one of the better in program history.

"She's had some big wins and she's somebody I would put with a lot of the other names we've had," Mueller said.

How Sertic got to NDSU in the first place is a testament to the Bison coaches getting out and about searching for talent. The Bison were recruiting Sertic's Nevada travel program teammate, Bre Beatty, when they saw Sertic pitch. Beatty is from Las Vegas and Sertic from Sparks, Nev., located just outside of Reno.

The only other offer Sertic had at the time was a team on the East Coast.

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"Then I was recruited by Darren, thankfully," she said. "The other school was in New York and I was like, no, I'm not going that far away from home. Halfway across the country is a lot less than the full way. So this was really my only option."

The Bison offered, and Sertic took it. Her teammates at Sparks, meanwhile, weren't buying it. North Dakota State?

"They didn't even believe me," she said. "They were like, no, you didn't commit."

Those familiar with the Bison program would believe it, mainly because NDSU annually attracts players from the West Coast. The Bison hit the jackpot, so to speak, with two players from gambling meccas in the country.

Beatty leads the team in hitting with a .358 average.

NDSU hasn't played a home game yet because of the poor spring weather, having yet to christen its renovated Ellig Sports Complex stadium.

"Only 20 percent of our games are at home anyway," Sertic said, "so even if we get one game in the stadium, I'm going to be happy."

Or, perhaps, as happy as she's made others feel with the volunteer work this year. Sertic also carries 3.63 grade point average in zoology and is contemplating medical school. The Senior CLASS Award, incidentally, will name 10 finalists with the winner being announced during the Women's College World Series.

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"She wants to help out," Mueller said.

North Dakota State senior pitcher Jacquelyn Sertic was one of 30 softball players in Division I nominated for the NCAA 2018 Senior CLASS Award, which stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. David Samson / The Forum
North Dakota State senior pitcher Jacquelyn Sertic has a 16-7 record with a 1.95 earned run average this season. David Samson / The Forum

Related Topics: SOFTBALLCOLLEGE SOFTBALL
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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