UNION — By sweeping Murray State College (Okla.) Friday, 2-1 and 4-3, the East Central College softball Falcons qualified for the NJCAA Division II national tournament.
The wins gave ECC (32-20) the NJCAA Division II District J title for the second time in three seasons. The NJCAA Division II National Tournament takes place in Traceway Park, Clinton, Miss., May 14-17.
The Falcons rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning in the first game. Haley Zenner (Dubuque, Iowa) belted a two-run shot to lift the Falcons to the lead. Kierstin Monzyk (New Haven) was on base and scored in front of Zenner.
The home run helped Sarah Westhoff (Washington) to earn the complete game victory.
In the second contest, Zenner put the Falcons on the board first in the top of the first inning (the teams switched which was batting first) with another home run.
Ashley Hill (Centralia) homered in the top of the second.
Murray State scored in the bottom of the second, but the Falcons got another run from Kaitlin Evans (Washington) in the top of the third to make it 3-1.
With the score 3-2, Chelsea Bax (Fatima) yielded the circle for Rachel Micke (Washington). Murray State tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, but the Falcons got a couple of breaks.
One runner was cut down at the plate. Another was doubled up, thinking there were two outs. Alex Adelsberger (Timberland) caught a pop fly and fired over to Zenner for the double play.
In the top of the sixth, Brad Wallach’s “eight-finger attack” put the Falcons ahead to stay. Adlesberger scored on a base hit by Kelsey Inman (Pacific) to make it 4-3.
Both Adelsberger and Inman have suffered finger injuries this season and Inman recently was cleared to be able to hit once more.
Micke and the defense finished off the game in the bottom of the seventh to give ECC the District J title.