Clinic kicks off NJCAA softball championship at Canyons

The NJCAA softball clinic at The Canyons Tuesday, St. George, Utah, May 14, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – It’s a big week in softball for the community with the NJCAA National Tournament being played at The Canyons and the 3A State Tournament being played at the Little Valley complex.

Former US Olympic softball player Amanda Freed speaks to local youth at the NJCAA softball clinic at The Canyons Tuesday, St. George, Utah, May 14, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

Part of the NJCAA Tourney features a shout out to the youth softball players in Utah’s Dixie with a pre-tournament skills clinic, with headlining clinician 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Amanda Freed.

The former Team USA star, along with at least four players from each of the NJCAA teams competing this week, interacted with local youth out at the Canyons, teaching basic skills such as bunting, fielding, pitching and hitting.

The skills clinic preceded a banquet for all the participating NJCAA teams and is a precursor to the actual tournament, which begins Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Sixteen Division I junior college teams from throughout the country will be in St. George for the NJCAA Tourney to compete for the national title. They include teams from near (Salt Lake Community College and Pima, Ariz.) and far (Chipola, Fla., and Paris, Tex.). Also in town: Butler, Kan., Pitt, N.C., Wallace State, Ala., Santa Fe, Fla., NE Oklahoma A & M, Trinity Valley, Tex., Odessa, Tex., Iowa Western, Lake Land, Ill., Walters State, Tenn., Weatherford, Tex., and Georgia Perimater.

Butler enters the tourney as the top-ranked team in the nation and the top-seeded team. No, 2-seeded Salt Lake and third-seeded Chipola all have excellent chances.

Chattanooga, Tenn., won it last season with Salt Lake placing second. Yavapai, Ariz., was the 2010 champion with SLCC placing second that year as well.

The games begin Wednesday at 4 p.m. and run through Saturday in the double-elimination tournament. The championship will be Saturday at noon, with the “if necessary game scheduled for 2 p.m.

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


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