ST. GEORGE – Butler College out of Kansas had a nice run, but it was time for someone else to take the NJCAA softball crown.
That team is temple College from Texas, which beat Chipola (Florida) 6-1 in Saturday’s winner-take-all championship game. Chipola had eliminated Butler earlier in the day, and beat Temple 2-0 to forcve the “if necessary” game, but couldn’t get past the hard-swinging Leopards a second time.
Temple (TX) broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with a five-run frame to go on to defeat Chipola. Kelsey Murie delivered the big hit in the fifth for the third-seeded Leopards with a three-run homer to left, as Temple went on to earn its first NJCAA DI National Softball Championship in program history.
With the game locked in a scoreless 0-0 tie in the fifth, the Leopards were the first to break through when Daisy Gonzalez drove home the first run of the game with a pinch-hit RBI single up the middle to bring in Kaitlyn Jones and give Temple the lead. Her teammate Madilyn Weatherly then promptly followed with an RBI single to center to make it 2-0 and with two on and just one out, Murie blasted out the big blow with a three-run round tripper to left to extend Temple’s lead to 5-0.
The Indians then managed to strike back with a run of their own in the last of the sixth on an RBI base knock from Alexis Grampp to make it 5-1. Temple then responded with a unearned run in the seventh and reliever Dalilah Barrera managed to escape a bases loaded jam in the last of the seventh by striking out the final batter to help seal the victory and the national championship for the Leopards.
With the three-run homer in the fifth, Murie led Temple offensively by going 1-for-4 with three runs batted in and a run scored, while Gonzalez, Weatherly and Jones all added RBI hits for the Leopards. Grampp and Barbara Woll led the Indians in the contest by each going 2-for-4 at the plate.
Sanchez earned the victory in the circle for Temple after giving up just one run on three hits while striking out seven in five innings of action. Barrera too pitched well in relief as she struck out five and gave up just three hits on no runs in the final two innings. Krystal Goodman again had another solid outing for the Indians after allowing just one hit and no runs in four innings, but her teammate Morgan Goree suffered the defeat in the circle after giving up five runs on four hits in relief.
Temple’s Sanchez earned Tournament MVP honors after the game, while her teammates Weatherly, Tiare Lee and Daisy Gonzalez joined her on the all-tournament team and head coach Kristen Zaleski was tabbed the Coach of the Tournament. Chipola also received a number of accolades, as Woll was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the tournament and Candela Figuroa, Goodman, Grampp and Woll all earned spots on the all-tournament team.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (Game 1 Recap)
#2 Chipola (FL) 2, #3 Temple (TX) 0
Chipola (FL)’s Krystal Goodman pitched a one-hit shutout en route to leading the Indians to a 2-0 victory in the first national championship game to force a winner-take-all title contest.
Goodman was dominant in the circle for the second-seeded Indians (56-3) by striking out eight and allowing just four base runners to reach in the game. The Chipola right-hander faced the minimum in six of the seven innings, which included retiring the side in order in both the sixth and seventh frames to record her second victory of the day in the circle for the Indians.
With the game still scoreless in the fourth, Chipola’s Barbara Woll helped jumpstart the offense with a leadoff double and later came around to score the first run of the game via an RBI double from Jordenne Gaten. With Gaten later on third base after swiping third, Melany Sheldon then drove her home with an RBI single up the middle to give the Indians the 2-0 advantage.
Goodman made the lead hold up from there as she allowed just one hit in the fifth to record the one-hit complete-game shutout.
Woll and Gaten led the way for the Indians at the plate by each going 1-for-3 with an RBI double, while Sheldon finished 1-for-2 with a run batted in. Kelsie Murie paced Temple (46-8) by getting the lone hit of the game for the Leopards with a fifth-inning leadoff single.
The contest marked Chipola’s sixth straight victory of the tournament after being upset by No. 7 Eastern Arizona in its second game of the tournament on Thursday.
CONSOLATION BRACKET FINAL (Recap)
#2 Chipola (FL) 5, #4 Butler (KS) 4 (8 innings)
Down to its last strike in the bottom of the seventh inning, Chipola (FL)’s Jordenne Gaten belted out a solo homer to left to tie it and her teammate Melany Sheldon later won it for the Indians with a eighth-inning walk-off solo home run of her own to send Chipola to the national championship game with 5-4 extra-inning victory over the two-time defending national champion Butler (KS) Grizzlies in the consolation final.
With No. 4 Butler (53-6) holding to a 4-3 lead with two outs and nobody on for the second-seeded Indians (55-3) and an 0-2 count on the batter, Gaten helped force extra innings with a line drive round tripper to left to deadlock the score at 4-all. After Chipola’s Krystal Goodman retired three of the four hitters that she faced in the top of the eighth, Sheldon then sent the Indians to the title game with a leadoff walk-off home run to centerfield in the bottom of the frame.
Candela Figueroa led the Indians at the plate in the contest by going a perfect 2-for-2 with two runs batted in, a run scored, a walk and a leadoff solo round tripper in the bottom of the first inning. Sheldon was next by going 1-for-1 with two runs scored, a run batted in, two walks and the game-winning home run, while Gaten posted a 1-for-3 outing with the game-tying home run in the bottom of the seventh. Goodman earned the victory in the circle for Chipola after allowing just one run on to hits while fanning seven in 4.0 innings of impressive relief.
Brianna Robinson led Butler by going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, while Alexis Reed went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run.
With the setback, the fourth-seeded Butler Grizzlies had their 2018 national tournament run come to a close with a third-place finish.
2018 NJCAA Division I National Softball Tournament All-Tournament Team
Candela Figueroa, Chipola (Catcher)
Abagail Johnson, Seminole State (Catcher)
Krystal Goodman, Chipola (Pitcher)
Karina Sanchez, Temple (Pitcher)
Maddie Weatherly, Temple (Infielder)
Tiare Lee, Temple (Infielder)
Alexis Grampp, Chipola (Infielder)
Kristen Prieto, Seminole State (Infielder)
Barbara Woll, Chipola (Outfielder)
Reagan Wilson, Butler (Outfielder)
Paris Woods, Florida SW State (Outfielder)
Brianna Robinson, Butler (Designated Player)
Daisy Gonzalez, Temple (Utility)
MVP: Karina Sanchez, Temple (Pitcher)
Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Vessi Liilii, Eastern Arizona
Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Barbara Woll, Chipola
Most Outstanding Pitcher: Celina Sullivan, Butler
Coach of the Tournament: Kristen Zaleski, Temple
2018 NJCAA Division I National Softball Champions: Temple
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