ST. GEORGE — The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Softball National Championship Tournament is in town again, with defending champion Chipola Community College returning as a No. 3 seed and Utah favorite Salt Lake City Community College returning as the No. 2 seed.
This year, Tyler Community College (TX) has the No. 1 ranking in the national poll and is seeded first in the tournament. The NJCAA Division I championships run from today through Saturday at the Canyons Softball Complex off of Snow Canyon Parkway.
“It is an honor to host the 16 best Division I Junior College women’s softball teams in the nation at the award-winning Canyons Complex.” said Steve Bingham, NJCAA Tournament Director. “The Canyons Softball Complex has received the coveted recognition of ‘Complex of the Year’ nine times, the National Softball Association eight times and Senior Softball Association one time.”
A welcome banquet was Wednesday at the Dixie State University Gardner Center, where former NJCAA All-American Michelle Delloso was the keynote speaker. A fireworks display will wrap up the festivities with a bang after the last game tonight.
Salt Lake Community College’s softball team won the Region 18 Tournament for a chance to play in the NJCAA tourney. The SLCC Bruins battled CSI Friday in the region tournament at SLCC’s Norma Carr Field on its Taylorsville Redwood Campus and won 3-1 for a trip to nationals. The Bruins finished the season 44-7 overall and 21-1 at home.
“We are very excited to participate in the National Tournament,” said Bruins Head Coach Cyndee Bennett. “This group has come together, and we have high expectations. We have worked very hard for this opportunity.”
SLCC had four players earn Player of the Week honors: Tina Ford, Rae Gall, Kylie Everill and Addie Jensen. Gall went on to win NJCAA National Player of the Week. The team also had First Team All SWAC players in Rae Gall, Karly Bunderson, Ashlee Crabtree and Lauryn Goaslind.
Tournament action for the 16 teams begins at 5 p.m. tonight and runs through the championship game May 21 in this double elimination format.
Wednesday’s first-round games feature a 5 p.m. round with Tyler (No. 1 seed) vs. Georgia Military (16); Yavapai, Ariz. (8) vs. Walters State, Tenn. (9); Florida Southwestern State (5) vs. San Jacinto-South, Tex. (12); and Howard, Tex. (13) vs. Butler, Kan. (4). The 7:30 p.m. round features Chipola, Fla. (3) vs. Indian Hills, Iowa (14), Wallace State, Fla. (11) vs. McLennan, Tex. (6); NE Oklahoma A&M (7) vs. Lake Land, Ill. (10); and Salt Lake (2) vs. Spartanburg Methodist, SC (15).
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