Photos by Derrick Tuskan/NDSU Athletics
A softball team can be carried a long way by one ace. The Bison have that in Jacquelyn Sertic, who has started 98 career games with 730 strikeouts midway through March of her senior season. In 2017 alone, Sertic started 40 games and struck out 340 batters.
It’s having a No. 2 pitcher that separates good teams from great teams in the postseason. And the Bison have that in KK Leddy. Leddy, a junior, has come up clutch the previous two seasons in the Summit League Tournament, earning all-tournament honors both years and being named the MVP in 2016 as a freshman, where she recorded a pair of one-run wins in relief against South Dakota and Omaha in NDSU’s championship run.
“(Head coach) Darren (Mueller) likes to say no expectations when it comes to things like that,” Leddy said. “I didn’t even think I’d get that so it was a shock to me. But I don’t think about awards. It’s about doing your job for your team. At that time, I needed to do my job and help Jax out. But as a freshman, you build off of that and it was a good confidence booster.”
Sertic and Leddy have proven to be a good 1-2 punch in their years together. Sertic continues to be the workhorse, pitching 81 innings in the team’s first 19 games. Leddy pitched 46.2 with freshman Kara O’Byrne coming in for 2.2 innings.
“It’s nice because, on some days when I don’t have my ‘A’ game, Jax will have hers,” Leddy said. “We always have each other’s back. We really are a staff. Last year, it was just us two. But it’s nice to have two different pitchers to be able to count on.
“We’re super close,” Leddy added on her relationship with Sertic. “We’re completely opposite, but we bring out the best in each other. What I struggle with, she helps me out with and vice versa. We’re a very good match.”
Another positive for Leddy this season is her health. She battled injuries during her first two seasons despite performing well during the postseason. This previous fall was the first she was able to participate in, and she said she noticed a difference at the start of this spring season.
“Darren and I joked around that this was my first season in college where I had a fall season,” Leddy said. “Before I was shut down and I wasn’t allowed to pitch in the fall. This was my first season when I could do everything. Being able to practice and having those opportunities, I definitely took advantage of it.”