Bison softball is heading to the NCAA Division I regional tournament for the fifth time this weekend to take on Auburn. Leading the way defensively has been junior pitcher Krista Menke and senior catcher Jenina Ortega. The two have built an unbreakable bond they plan to ride till the very end.
"You look at her every single pitch and you're like we've got this," Menke says of her partner in crime.
"When you have that kind of relationship with someone there's really nothings that's too big of a problem for you," Ortega adds.
As the first line of defense for the Bison softball team, Menke and Ortega have taken friendship to sisterhood this season.
"It's a really good feeling," Ortega said with a smile. "You always wish for that, for someone to feel like that about you as a player and teammate and I never doubt that Krista felt that way because I feel that way about Krista."
The pair first met in Menke's freshman season and combined for 21 wins with 210 strike outs. Now in Menke's junior year, Ortega says it's more than the nearly 250 strike outs and 28 wins that make Menke stronger than ever.
"She has a lot better command this year, as opposed to her freshman year," Ortega explains. "All we did was tighten our communication up. Tightened everything up and just stayed in control of what we could control."
The two have grown in to a cohesive unit; but they started far further than just 43 feet apart.
One from busy San Jose, California. The other small town Friend, Nebraska.
Not to mention the nine inches that separate the two in height.
But it's those very differences that have brought them together.
"She knows when to calm me down and when to settle my nerves," Menke explains. "She's amazing. She has the heart. She has the desire and everything you want in a catcher to go out there and be your other half."
"She gives me a lot of credit," Ortega says when she hears Menke's praise. "I just catch and the ball and throw it back. I always tell her, 'Krista it's your world, I'm just living in it."
Valley News Live Sports Reporter Beth Hoole can be reached for contact or story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @bethhooleVNL