The MCC softball team hosted the Region XI tournament on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4. The winner of the tournament advances to district play with a shot to play in the JUCO Softball World Series.
The first game of the tournament featured Indian Hills taking on the Tigers. MCC entered the tournament as the fourth seed while the Warriors were the first seed. With Indian Hills being the better seed, they were the home team for the contest.
The game got off to a good start for the Tigers as sophomore Saydee Terrell double to center field. The next batter, Kaylee Hanks reached via error and moved Terrell to third. Ashley Tennant then grounded out to the second baseman. With the infield back, Terrell scored and Hanks moved to scoring position. Unfortunately for the Tigers and their fans, MCC was only able to muster the single run in the frame.
With Tennant in the circle for the Tigers, the visitors on the scoreboard were able to hold the dangerous Warriors scoreless in the first two innings. However, a two run homer by Chloe Olson in the bottom of the third made the score 2-1 Warriors as the MCC offense was unable to score in the second or third innings.
Indian Hills didn't keep the lead for long though as Nicolette Dabbs singled to lead off the fourth inning and reached second on an error by the Warrior's first baseman. After a DJ Schmidt groundout moved Dabbs to third, Aliyah Scott lifted a 1-0 offering to left-center field for a two run shot to put the Tigers back ahead 3-2. That was the end of the day for Nina Hendrix who started at pitcher for the one seed. In came Alexis Groet. Groet, the ace for the Warriors is one of the top pitchers in the NJCAA and leads the country in strikeouts. Groet worked around hitting the first batter she faced to hold the Tigers at three.
Tennant struggled with control in the bottom of the fourth and walked the first two batters she faced. After a bunt back to the pitcher moved Alexis Westercamp and Jordon Hollon to scoring position, Vanessa Bakley hit a sac fly to center field to score Westercamp and tie the game 3-3. With two outs, Aliyah Scott committed a costly error at shortstop to allow Hollon to score, Brittni Lloyd to reach first and extend the inning. The next batter, Brooke Snyder made the Tigers pay for the mistake as she took a 2-1 pitch deep to left-center for a two run blast that moved the score to 6-3. Two batters later, the Tigers were out of the inning, but the damage had been done.
With Groet going strong, MCC was unable to pull the game closer in the top of the fifth.
The bottom of the fifth proved to be the last half inning of the game as control and an error again proved costly. Jaylie Reints led the inning off with a full-count walk. The next batter, Westercamp hit a grounder to third that was misplayed by Kylie Swan and allowed Reints to move to third and Westercampt to second. Again the Warriors took advantage of the error a batter later as Hollon hit a three run shot to center. Now down 9-3, the Tigers recorded their first out of the fifth on a fly out to left field by Hall. Bakley then singled and Lloyd popped out to center. With two outs and a runner on first, Brooke Snyder smoked a ball to left field, just inside the foul pole to end the game 11-3.
The Tigers were sent to the consolation bracket and would face the loser of the next game who proved to be Southeastern.
Coming off of a pair of blowout losses at Southeastern less than a week prior, the Tigers were looking to extend their season and advance in the tournament.
With the exception of the first and seventh innings, the game was largely a pitcher's and defensive battle.
Again the away team on the scoreboard, the Tigers got out to an early 3-0 lead. Saydee Terrell led the game off with a homer to make the score 1-0. In the first, eight Tigers would bat with Aliyah Scott eventually driving in Ashley Tennant with a fielder's choice and a single by Kylie Swan scoring Nicolette Dabbs.
Trailing 3-0, the Blackhawks took advantage of a Kylie Swan error that allowed leadoff batter, Izzy Colling to reach second. Collins moved to third on a fly ball to center and scored as Ashley Rosado singled through the infield. The Tigers minimized the damage though as Swan made two consecutive plays on 5-3 putouts. After one, the Tigers led 3-1.
The second, third, and fourth innings were well played by both pitchers and defenses and it wasn't until the fifth inning that either team would have another runner cross the plate.
In the bottom of the fifth, Collins led off with a double and scored a batter later and Heather Geiger singled. Geiger reached third on a wild pitch and passed ball before Ashley Rosado hit a grounder to third. An aggressive Geiger was thrown out at the plate for the first out of the inning. Two more ground balls led to two more outs and the game moved to the seventh with the Tigers leading 3-2.
Lara Pence threw a scoreless top of the seventh and the game headed to the bottom of the inning with the Tigers needing just three outs to advance.
Tennant and the Tiger defense retired Collins and Geiger in order for the first two outs of the inning and moved the Tigers to just one out away from advancing. Then on a 1-0 pitch, Ashley Rosado stunned the Tigers with a homerun to left center to tie the game at 3-3. Still the Tigers needed just one out to go to extra innings. It wasn't meant to be for the host team though as Chayse Lowney followed up the homerun with a double. The next batter, Taylor Pottorff singled, but Lowney was held at third. A four pitch walk to Lara Pence loaded the bases and brought Kamryn Bailey to the plate. Bailey singled into left and scored Lowney to give the Blackhawks the walk-off win, 4-3.
The heartbreak loss moved the Tigers' final record to 11-32.
Indian Hills went on to beat Southeastern to claim the Region XI Championship.