It took a lot of sweat, a few tears and, eventually, a bit of blood before a champion was crowned in the 2018 NJCAA Region 14 Softball Tournament. In the end, it was the Galveston College Whitecaps who will represent the conference as its champion, while Tyler Junior College earns the runner-up spot.
Both teams will represent the region in the NJCAA National Softball Tournament in Utah later this month.
Galveston College clinched its spot with a perfect run through the winner’s bracket on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, leaving a showdown between Bossier Parish Community College and Tyler JC Monday morning to determine the second team headed to nationals.
Tyler, which is ranked No. 5 in the most recent national polls, came away with a 9-7 win over the Cavaliers.
With Tyler only having one loss in the double-elimination tournament, a championship scenario was set up between the Apaches and the Whitecaps in the schedule Game 2 Monday.
Galveston had taken a 2-1 lead into the second inning when a line drive foul ball struck Whitecaps head coach Ken Delcambre in the face. The longtime Whitecaps leader and athletic director was taken by ambulance to a Port Arthur hospital then later transported to UTMB in Galveston for further evaluation.
The game was immediately halted and Galveston named the tournament champion based on its undefeated run through the tournament.
Tyler 9, Bossier Parish CC 7
The big-hitting Cavaliers collected 11 hits but couldn’t convert for enough runs to overcome Tyler’s offense in the final elimination game of the tournament.
Tyler went up 2-0 in the top of the third but BPCC came back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Tyler answered with three of its own in the top of the fourth for a 5-3 lead. The Cavs scored one in the bottom of the fourth for a 5-4 difference.
When TJC scored two in the sixth and two more in the seventh, it appeared the game was well in hand. True to form for the Cavs, though, BPCC scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull to within 9-7.
With bases loaded and just one out, the time appeared right for the Cavs to come up with a late-game shocker. Instead, the BPCC base runner at third was picked off on a throw by the catcher giving the Cavs two outs.
The final out came on a strikeout and Tyler claimed its trip to the national tournament.
Tyler’s Rebecca Snow was 1 for 4 with a two-run home run, while Courtnie Heller finished 2 for 2 with a run scored and Jaden Lance went 1 for 1 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Abbie Dart started on the mound, working 2.2 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits with two strikeouts and three walks. Audrey Pickett worked 3.1 innings of relief, allowing four earned runs on eight hits with two strikeouts. Julia Knight came on in the seventh inning, striking out two and allowing one hit.
Among the 11 hits collected by Bossier Parish, all of which were singles, Zoe Hancock and Dorrie Cormier were each 2 for 4 and Jayleen Lantier was 2 for 3.
Elisa Favela started on the hill for the Cavs, throwing 4.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Jenna James pitched 1.2 innings of relief, allowing two walks but no runs and no hits. Mae Jones came on with one out in the seventh inning, giving up one earned run on one hit with two walks in her time on the mound.