ST. GEORGE – Eighth-seeded Wallace State (Ala.) Community College won its second-ever NJCAA Division I softball national title, but had to put in a little extra work to earn the trophy, as the Lions bounced back with a 7-3 victory over second-seed Salt Lake Community College Saturday afternoon at the Canyons Complex.
The Lions, who also won the title in 2008, came into play Saturday out of the winner’s bracket, needing only one win to claim the title. Meanwhile, Salt Lake, which had dropped an 8-1 decision to Wallace State Friday night in the winner’s bracket finale, avenged that loss and forced a second title game by defeating the Lions 8-0 earlier Saturday.
Salt Lake looked as if it was going to pick up where it left off to start game two as the Lions committed three errors in the first stanza, but the Bruins only cashed in one run on those extra opportunities to take a 1-0 lead.
After being blanked for the first time in the tourney in the first title game, Wallace State broke through with a pair of runs in the second as infielder Kori Benson connected on a two-run home run to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins had a chance to put up a big number in the home half of the fifth as Salt Lake loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of hits and a hit batter. However Lion starter Lindsey DeFee was able to escape the jam by only allowing a single run on a sacrifice fly from Susan Duke, which knotted the score at 2-2.
The Lions then put the game away in the seventh, sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring five runs, four of which came on a pair of two-run singles by Katie Gentle and Benson, which staked Wallace State to a commanding 7-2 advantage.
Salt Lake tried to mount a rally in its final at-bat as Maddy Woodard knocked a one-out homer to left field, which was followed by a Lyndsey Healy single, but DeFee slammed the door shut as she induced a championship-clinching double play to end the game.
DeFee, who was named tournament MVP and Most Outstanding Pitcher, struck out three and scattered five hits and three runs, two earned, to pick up the win. Wallace finished with 12 hits, with Benson accounting for two of the safeties and four RBI overall.
Bruin starter Kailey Christensen, who shut out Wallace in game one, pitched into the second inning of game two, but was touched up for two runs on three hits in the frame. Reliever Macauley Flint held the Lions down until the decisive seventh and took the loss. Woodard finished with three hits to lead the Bruin offense.
#8 Wallace State CC 020 000 5 7 12 4
#2 Salt Lake CC 100 010 1 3 5 2
DeFee and Rowland. Christensen, Flint (2) and Duke. W – DeFee. L – Flint. 2B – WSCC, Gentle, Lee; SLCC, None. HR – WSCC, Benson; SLCC, Woodard. T – 2:03.
2013 NJCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S SOFTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Yvette Alvarez – Pitcher, Pima (AZ) CC; McCauley Flint – Pitcher, Salt Lake (UT) CC; Maria Alexander Ortiz – Catcher, Pima (AZ) CC; Lindsey DeFee – Pitcher, Wallace State (AL) CC; Maddy Woodard – Shortstop, Salt Lake (UT) CC; Madeline Lee – Second Base, Wallace State (AL) CC; Katherine Harrison – First Base, Chipola (FL) College; Brittany Gillison – Outfielder, Wallace State (AL) CC; Kristi Belshe – Outfielder, Lake Land (IL) College; Katie Gentle – Outfielder, Wallace State (AL) CC; Sydney Stuever – Outfielder, Butler (KS) CC; Whitney Holt – UT/DP, Salt Lake (UT) CC.
2013 MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Malia Campos, Salt Lake (UT) CC (.462/1 2B/1 HR/8 RBI/15 RS/3 SB)
2013 MOST OUTSTANDING PITCHER
Lindsey DeFee, Wallace State (AL) CC (3-0/4.14 ERA/25.1 IP/13 K/.245 OBA)
2013 MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Kori Benson – Third Base, Wallace State (AL) CC
2013 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER OF THE 2013 NJCAA TOURNAMENT
Lindsey DeFee, Wallace State (AL) CC
2013 KAREN L. SYKES OUTSTANDING COACH OF THE 2013 NJCAA TOURNAMENT
Jayne Clem, Wallace State (AL) CC
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