NJCAA Championships: Wallace State into softball finals

Wallace State is into the NJCAA Championship game. | Photo courtesy NJCAA

ST. GEORGE – A day full of elimination games left one team standing alone in the winner’s bracket: Wallace State (Ala.).

The Lions picked up huge wins along the way, beating No. 1-ranked Butler yesterday, then defeating Arizona power Pima Friday and No. 2-ranked Salt Lake Friday evening. Wallace State now awaits a loser out game Saturday morning and will have to be beaten twice to lose out on the National Championship in the NJCAA Division I softball ranks.

Here’s a recap of Friday’s action:

Wallace State is into the championship game | Photo courtesy Wallace State College

#8 Wallace State CC 8, #2 Salt Lake CC 1
No. 8-seed Wallace State (AL) Community College used a 13-hit barrage to roll past #2-seed Salt Lake CC, 8-1, and advance to the championship game of the 2013 NJCAA Division I Women’s Softball National Championship tournament Friday night at the Canyons Complex. Wallace State (54-11) will await the winner of the Salt Lake/Pima elimination game, which will be played Saturday morning at 10 a.m. The NJCAA National Championship game will follow at 12 noon, with an if-necessary game to follow at 2 p.m.

The Lions picked up an early run in the top half of the second inning as catcher Paige Rowland led off the frame with a solo homer to right center. Wallace then tacked on three runs in the fourth and three more tallies in the sixth, which came on a three-run homer from Maria Mitchell. Salt Lake had beaten Chipola (Fla.) earlier in the day.

#8 Wallace State CC 8, #5 Pima CC 6
Eighth-seeded Wallace State (AL) Community College held off a late Pima rally in claiming an 8-6 victory in the winner’s bracket.

Wallace State broke open a tied ballgame with a six-run fifth inning, which was started by a lead-off home run from Madeline Lee. The Lions pounded out seven hits overall in the frame, including a two-run single from Kori Benson, to take a commanding 7-1 lead.

#5 Pima CC 6, #1 Butler CC 3
No. 5-seed Pima Community College eliminated the top-overall seed and the national #1 Butler (KS) CC with a 6-3 victory to advance to the consolation bracket final game. Pima bolted out of the gate for a quick 2-0 first-inning lead, thanks in part to a two-run home run off the bat of Maria Ortiz. The Aztecs struck again for two more runs in the third as pitcher Yvette Alvarez helped her own cause by connecting on a two-run homer of her own to stake PCC to a 4-0 advantage.

#1 Butler CC 4, #3 Chipola College 3
No. 1-seed and top-ranked Butler (KS) Community College continued its run through the consolation bracket by posting a hard-fought 4-3 win over #3-seed Chipola (FL) College.

Butler scored all four its runs in the first two innings, plating an unearned run in the first before erupting for three runs in the second on the strength of four hits and two costly Chipola errors. Meanwhile, Grizzlies starter Mac Millspaugh cruised through the first four innings, retiring 12 of the first 15 hitters she faced.

#5 Pima CC 13, #11 Lake Land College 3 (5 inn.)
Pima Community College bounced back from a semifinal loss in a big way as the Aztecs pounded out 16 hits en route to a 13-3 victory over No. 11 Lake Land (IL) College in the consolation bracket.

The Aztecs raced out of the gate as pitcher Yvette Alvarez gave herself the lead without even having thrown a pitch as she blasted a two-run to left field as part of a three-run rally in taking a quick 3-0 lead. Pima tacked on two more runs in the second, but Lake Land would answer with two runs on its own on a Kristi Belshe two-run double to stay within striking distance at 5-2.

#11 Lake Land College 10, #10 Weatherford College 1 (5 inn.)
Eleventh-seed Lake Land (IL) College continued its stellar offensive performance as the Lakers ran away with a 10-1 victory over #10-seed Weatherford (TX) College. Weatherford (50-8) sees its 2013 tournament run and season end with the loss.

Lake Land never trailed as the Lakers tallied a single run in the first and three more in the second, with the big blow coming on a two-run home run off the bat of Meagham Touchette, to lead 4-0. LLC kept the offensive pressure on with pair of runs in the fourth coming on a Kristi Belshe two-run homer, and the Lakers put the game away with four tallies in the fifth, two of which came around on a Katie Watson double, to extend the lead to 10-0.

#1 Butler CC 5, #4 Northeast Oklahoma A&M 2
Butler (KS) CC rode the pitching arm of Maggie Ham, who fanned 12 in a complete-game effort, to stay alive and advance with a 5-2 triumph over #4-seed Northeast Oklahoma A&M. NEO (44-11) sees its 2013 tournament run and season end with the loss.

After allowing a first inning run with two outs in the frame, Ham retired 13 of the next 16 hitters she faced, including nine on strikes. Meanwhile the Grizzlies offense answered with a run in their first at-bat, followed by a two-run rally in fourth, and two more runs in the fifth coming on a two-run home run from Kaitlyn Wolken.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

The NJCAA National Tournament at The Canyons, St. George, Utah, May 15, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News
The NJCAA National Tournament at The Canyons, St. George, Utah, May 15, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

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