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Viterbo's Engh returns to her roots, ends collegiate career on softball diamond

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

You know Jenna Engh as one of the most successful women's basketball players in Viterbo University history. She walked off the court for the final time earlier this year as the second-leading scorer in program history, a multiple All-MCC Team honoree, and an honorable-mention All-American.

It just wasn't time for her to end her collegiate career though. After some contemplating, she decided to return to her roots and become the two-sport athlete she was in high school one last time and rejoin the Viterbo softball team this spring.

Engh was recruited by the V-Hawks to play shortstop. She played her freshman and sophomore seasons, but then took a year off. Now she's back, and is quickly becoming a leader on a young Viterbo squad.

"I missed the game. I took a year off and I realized I missed it more than I thought I would," she said.

Engh missed the first few weeks of the season before deciding to join the team, but said she shook off the rust relatively easily.

"I think I've done that, pretty quickly, which is surprising, but I've played long enough to where as I can come back and get the hang of it pretty quickly," she said. "It's not as easy as it sounds, using different muscles. You come back for a week in softball and you can hardly move the next day."

First-year head coach Brandi Alonzo is glad Engh decided to return. Her squad has been hampered by injuries and a lack of depth since the season began. Engh herself had to overcome an early-season injury that limited her throwing ability.

"I'm glad that she decided to play this year. It gives us a little more versatility on defense," Alonzo said. "She came back pretty quickly from having a year and a half off."

Engh's first game was on March 21, the team's 16th contest of the season. She has started the next 20 games and is now fourth on the team in home runs (3), second in runs scored (16) and fourth in slugging percentage (.444). She is the only player with a triple this season.

Not listed on the stat sheet is Engh's leadership ability. Her presence has helped guide a 12-girl roster that features five underclassmen, many of whom did not know Engh before she joined the team.

"She has a level head on her shoulders," sophomore Anna Lensmire said. "She's quiet, but she's a leader by example and it's awesome that she came out and is helping us out."

The V-Hawks record this season is 5-30 to date. While it's not the success anyone on the team envisioned, Engh is holding her head high and focusing on having fun in her final days as a college athlete.

"I want to have fun with this team. I want to see success in the end and I think we can do that with the numbers we have," she said.

Regardless of how many wins the team collects in the coming days, or how much fun she has, Engh is only adding to the V-Hawks legacy she has left on the court and now the diamond.

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