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Part of the game

The ups and downs of Jaycie Rostad’s six-year journey with Majettes softball

The ups and downs of Jaycie Rostad’s six-year journey with Majettes softball

By JUSTIN MARTINEZ

Staff Writer

jmartinez@minotdailynews.com

Jaycie Rostad’s practice went well, but even she didn’t think it went that well.

The then-seventh-grader had just completed a practice with the Jim Hill Middle School softball team in 2013 during the program’s first official season. Rostad, all modesty aside, was head and shoulders above her contemporaries, and it didn’t go unnoticed.

Later that night, her mother got a call at the house. It was from Gerard Cederstrom, the head coach of the varsity softball team at Minot High School. Cederstrom informed her that he wanted her daughter to move up and join the squad.

When Rostad got the news, she didn’t hesitate to give a response.

“No doubt, I said yes right away,” Rostad said.

Just like that, 12-year-old Rostad was sharing the field with the big girls at practice the very next day. The quick change was a shock to her at first, but Rostad had been preparing for this moment for years.

Whether it was her parents, her uncles or even her older sister, baseball and softball runs in the Rostads’ blood. Jaycie is no exception. She began playing tee ball at the age of four and has been within arms reach of a softball ever since.

“I’ve been playing ever since I could walk, pretty much,” Rostad said. “My family is definitely a softball and baseball family. They really helped mold me into the player that I am today.”

But Rostad was in a new league of competition — one much higher than she’d ever been in before. Fortunately for her, she had at least one familiar face.

Also on the varsity team was Jaycie’s older sister, Halie Rostad. A junior at the time, Halie introduced her younger sister to the team. To Jaycie’s relief, the group welcomed her with open arms.

“I was kind of a little worried,” Jaycie said. “I was the youngest person there, obviously, and I didn’t know how things were going to turn out. But I was really lucky. Everyone was supportive of me and wanted me to do well.”

Jaycie certainly did do well, as she immediately saw time in the Majettes’ rotation.

The new kid handled it like a pro.

“We asked her to play as a seventh-grader because we needed a catcher,” Cederstrom said. “She more than handled it, and she’s improved every year since then as a player and a leader.”

As Jaycie improved, so did the team.

After missing out on the state tournament her first few years with the squad, Jaycie and the Majettes finally found their way onto the big stage in 2017 as the fourth and final seed from the West Region. The berth marked the program’s first state tournament appearance since 2009 — the first season softball was sanctioned by the NDHSAA.

The trip was short-lived, though, as the then-sophomore and her team suffered a 9-1 loss to the East Region’s No. 1-seeded team and defending nine-time state champions, West Fargo.

“We always seemed to just fall a little bit short and weren’t able to pull through,” said Rostad of her underclassmen years. “We definitely went through a lot of heartbreak together, and I think it made us a lot closer as a team.”

The 2018 state tournament began the same way. Minot squeezed in as the West Region’s No. 4 seed, but things would be different this time.

Jaycie and the Majettes got out of the first round with a nail-biting 4-3 victory over East Region No. 1-seeded Valley City. The semifinals proved to be equally challenging, as Minot edged out West Region No. 2-seeded Bismarck Century by a score of 8-6 to clinch a spot in the state championship.

Now, all that stood in the way of the Majettes and a state title was West Region No. 3-seeded Dickinson.

Trailing 1-0 entering the top of the third inning, Minot made its move. After teammate Jailee Britt knotted up the score with an unearned run, Jaycie got on base with an infield single.

Senior Rylee Terrel brought the junior and another runner home soon afterwards on a double to give the Majettes a 3-1 lead. Senior pitcher Marisa Andrysiak made it a 4-1 contest with an RBI single on the next at-bat in what was a four-run inning.

Dickinson never recovered, as Minot’s defense allowed just one run the rest of the way en route to the 4-2 victory. When the Majettes got the final out, chaos ensued.

Jaycie quickly rose to her feet from behind the plate, ripped off her catchers mask and sprinted to Andrysiak in the circle, yelling the whole way over. The rest of the Majettes met the two there in celebration of the program’s first-ever state title.

“That team from last year had been through a lot together,” Jaycie said. “We just wanted to go out there and each do everything we could for the team. We all just came together really well and made it happen.”

Now a senior, Jaycie is on the home stretch of her six-year career with the Majettes.

A girl that was once asked to embrace a starting role back in 2013 is now being asked to embraced a much bigger role, as she’s become a leader both on and off the field for a Majettes team (9-5, 6-4 West Region) with an abundance of young talent.

To nobody’s surprise, Jaycie has handled this challenge like a pro as well.

With a number of key players from last season’s state title team no longer on the squad, the Majettes are in a bit of an experimental stage, trying out players in new positions. Jaycie has been the poster child of versatility, thriving behind the plate, at shortstop and in the outfield.

“(Jaycie) is just a fundamentally-sound player that enjoys the game,” Cederstrom said. “She can play anywhere but pitch, honestly, and do it well…She talks to the girls, stays positive and works hard every day.”

These responsibilities can be overwhelming for the leader of a defending state championship team with a target on its back, but Jaycie isn’t too concerned.

The senior is simply enjoying her last season with the program she’s grown up in. Everything that comes with that is just part of the game.

“It can be looked at as having a lot of pressure on myself, but I don’t see it that way,” Jaycie said. “I just try to come out and play.”

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.

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