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Tori Jensen, Holliston High/MIT softball

MIT

Batting out of the cleanup spot for the resurgent women's softball team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tori Jensen has supplied plenty of punch. The 5-foot-10 junior catcher from Holliston holds the program's single-season and career record (14 this season, 28 overall) for doubles, along with the season record for RBIs (29 this year).

"We recruited Tori knowing her bat would be a big factor, and she's given us even more than we expected,'' said head coach Jen Williams of Jensen, who was hitting a robust .379 for the 22-6 Engineers.

"Tori had played first base before she came here, but we needed a catcher, and now she owns the position. She's extremely strong, and when she connects, the ball goes places.''

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Jensen's six career homers rank second all-time at MIT. Her latest, April 18 at Wellesley College, made the difference in a 1-0 contest. A mechanical engineering major, Jensen, 21, was a three-time Tri-Valley League all-star at Holliston High and a two-year captain with the U-18 New England Phoenix Gold elite travel team.

Q. When did you first play competitively?

A. I started when I was 12 with the Central Mass Thunder coached by Shawn Smith. He had a love for the game and a drive to win, and he made me believe I could do anything I wanted if I worked hard enough.

Q. How do you balance academics and athletics?

A. It’s really challenging. They both work around one another. Softball keeps me disciplined for academics because I have to commit certain hours to softball and then manage my time to get all my academic work done.

Q. What is your favorite memory playing for Holliston High?

A. Our varsity softball team defeated Bellingham, a really big rival, when I was a freshman. I hit a home run over the left field fence. It was exciting to show my teammates what I could do.

Q. What is the satisfaction of being the all-time program leader in doubles?

A. It’s really game-to-game. Most of the time, there are players on the bases when I get one, so how it helps my team is what is most important.

Q. What did you do last summer?

A. I was at MIT and in the Women’s Technology Program as a residential tutor for high school juniors with an interest in engineering. I had a flexible schedule that allowed me to work out in the weight room and on the treadmill. My dad, David, also pitched to me on a field in Holliston to keep my bat quick.

Q. Your biggest improvement as a college player?

A. Game composure. I’ve become mentally tougher, knowing my teammates always have my back.

Q. What has been your favorite class?

A. Fluids and thermodynamics. We analyzed heat transfer, engines, and fluids. Taking apart really complex systems and solving problems was very satisfying.

Q. You were involved with designing a 3D educational game, Starlogo Nova, for high school teachers your freshman year. What did that entail?

A. It’s an online resource for their students. I developed simulations of biological processes so they could more easily learn concepts in biology.

Marvin Pave

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com