Make it back-to-back NJCAA Division II Region 16 championships for the East Central College softball Falcons.
East Central (21-14) completed a dominating run through the Region 16 Tournament in Nevada, Mo., this past weekend with three wins.
“We did what we were supposed to do, according to the seeds,” ECC Head Coach Brad Wallach said. “What was impressive was the way we did it, in dominating fashion. We had previously lost games to both Mineral Area and St. Louis and had to come from behind twice to beat Cottey. They didn’t get worse, we’re just getting better.”
Overall, the Falcons outscored the competition by a 26-2 margin and only one of the three games went the full seven innings.
“Anytime you outscore your opponents 26-2, outhit them 31-6, and only allow one error per game, things are collectively coming together,” Wallach said. “Hitting eight doubles and one home run in 4.5 innings is impressive whether it’s in the championship game or off of a pitching machine.”
• ECC opened play with a Julie Scheer (New Haven) no-hitter over Cottey College Saturday, 8-0.
“Julie pitched well all weekend but she looked more relaxed and confident in the last two games,” Wallach said. “She went after hitters instead of showing them too much respect and getting behind in counts. As a result, she gave up only one free pass, whereas she gave up four in the first game.”
• The Falcons got a two-hit shutout from Scheer in a 6-0 win over St. Louis Community College in the winners’ bracket finals.
• And ECC rolled to a 12-2 win over St. Louis Community College in the title game, which was called after five innings due to the mercy rule.
The Falcons will go to Tishomingo, Okla., Friday and Saturday for the NJCAA Division II District J Playoffs. ECC will take on Region 2 champion Murray State College in a best-of-three playoff to determine the district’s representative for the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Jackson, Miss., May 15-18.
The district event is a rematch of last year’s playoffs, which ECC swept.
The top seed in the four-team event, ECC opened against host Cottey College and rolled to an 8-0 victory.
The Falcons scored four times in the first and then added single runs in the second, third, fifth and sixth innings.
Scheer led the way with a no-hitter, allowing only three walks while hitting one batter. She struck out two.
Offensively, Amber Odom (Linn) posted two hits with two runs.
Michelle Bryant (Crocker) singled, sacrificed, scored and drove in one.
Chloe Galati (Borgia) singled, walked and scored.
Kris Stevens (Union) posted one hit, a sacrifice and a walk. She stole a base and scored twice.
Haley Zenner (Dubuque, Iowa) recorded a double, a walk and drove in two runs.
Abby Job (Warrenton) scored and stole a base.
The Falcons finally met St. Louis Community College in the winners’ bracket championship game.
The teams had been scheduled to play last Wednesday in Hillsboro, but that was rained out.
In this game, the Falcons scored once in the second and once in the fourth before exploding for four runs in the fifth.
Scheer tossed a two-hit shutout and walked nobody. She struck out two Archers.
Offensively, Zenner led the way with three hits, including a double and a home run. She scored twice and drove in three runs.
Galati had two hits and two runs.
Alex Adelsberger (Timberland) singled.
Grace Fritz (Borgia) singled and scored.
Job had one hit while driving home three runs. She also stole a base.
Sara Wade (Union) recorded a single.
Stevens walked and scored. Bryant stole a base.
For the first time in the tournament, the Falcons trailed after the top of the first inning. St. Louis Community College scored first.
But ECC exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead for good.
The Archers scored their other run in the top of the second, but ECC scored twice in the bottom of that frame. The Falcons blasted out six more runs in the fourth inning to settle the outcome.
The game ended after St. Louis Community College failed to score in the top of the fifth.
Scheer pitched for the Falcons and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and one walk. One of the hits was a home run. She struck out one.
Offensively, the Falcons had contributions up and down the lineup. Seven different players had hits with four of them coming up with two-hit games. ECC recorded eight doubles and one home run.
Zenner posted two hits (double and a home run) while adding two runs and four RBIs.
Stevens had two hits, two runs, three RBIs and a stolen base.
Scheer doubled twice and drove in one run.
Byrant posted two doubles with two runs and one RBI.
Fritz had one hit, one walk, a sacrifice, a stolen base and two runs.
Galati closed with a double, a walk, two runs and an RBI.
Job recorded a double and scored.
Brittany Miller (Lindbergh) doubled and drove in one run.
Brooke Sammet (Union) singled.
“Our hitters were pretty locked in and patient,” Wallach said. “They consistently got the pitches they wanted and took advantage of it. Hitting mechanics are irrelevant if you don’t have the discipline to do that.”