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DII Softball Champion to be Crowned This Weekend - Tournament Preview
 May 18, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The NJCAA Division II Softball Championship Tournament is set for action from May 20-22 at Champion Fields in Normal, Ill. Tournament seeding has been finalized and the official bracket is available for download here.

Game results will be posted to the http://www.bloomingtonnormalcvb.org/details.cfm?id=639 and the NJCAA DII Softball Championship webpage following each session.

Below is a closer look at each of the participating teams and the official tournament schedule.

District A (Region 1):  South Mountain Community College, Ariz. (42-23) - The Cougars are making their first Appearance at the NJCAA Division II Softball Championship Tournament.  South Mountain dropped Mesa Community College in the Region 1 title game by a score of 8-5.  Freshman Felicia Wilson is by the far the power in the lineup for the Cougars, hitting .472 with 83 RBI's, 21 doubles, and third among all NJCAA Divisions with 21 home runs. 

District B (Region 4A):  Black Hawk College-Moline, Ill. (37-12) - The Braves enter into their seventh appearance in the tournament this year and second consecutive after placing 4th in last year's tournament.  Black Hawk played in four straight national tournaments from 2003-06.  The Braves defeated Illinois Valley Community College by a score of 4-1 in the Region 4a Championship to earn their spot in the national tournament.  One of the many offensive producers is freshman Kelsie Wilkins who leads the team carrying a batting average of .385 with 38 RBI's and 38 runs. 

District C (Region 4B):  Kankakee Community College, Ill. (56-5) - The Cavaliers have been very successful in the past decade making this their eleventh consecutive trip to the national tournament.  Kankakee has not been able to walk away with a national title yet or even make it to the championship game.  Their closest was a 3rd place finish from 2001-03.  This year the Cavaliers are hoping to change that after blazing through their competition all season long and defeating McHenry CC 3-0 to win the Region 4b championship.  All five of the Cavs losses this year have come by one run, two of which were in extra innings.  Kankakee CC is very well balanced in their pitching effort, and offensively they pound opponents into the ground.  Sophomore Tara Buchanan supplies a lot of the power hitting .500 with 79 RBI's, 23 extra-base hits, and leads all NJCAA divisions with 23 home runs.

District D (Region 6A):  Johnson County Community College, Kan. (45-9) - JCCC will be in the national tournament for the fourth consecutive year after defeating Labette Community College 6-5 in the Region 6A championship game.  The Cavaliers best finish came in 2007 when they came up just short taking a 2nd place finish.   Sophomore Lacey Dixon and freshman Lynna Kays have been dominant in the circle for the Cavs carrying a combined ERA of 1.16 with 316 strikeouts through 353.1 innings of work.  At the plate, freshman Amber Parkison leads the team with a .440 batting average, 67 runs and 22 extra-base hits.

District E (Region 6B):  Highland Community College, Kan. (36-13) - The Scotties are making their first trip to the NJCAA Division 2 Softball National Championship Tournament this year.  Highland overcame Cowley County Community College in the Region 6B championship by a score of 9-4.  Sophomore Melissa Pratt is the offensive team leader for the Scotties, hitting .514 with 70 RBI's, 46 runs, and 25 extra-base hits.

District F (Region 9, 11):  Iowa Lakes Community College (59-9) - The Lakers defeated Iowa Central Community College 6-5 in the District F Championship to advance to their second appearance in the national tournament in program history.  Freshman Julia Nealer leads the way in the circle for the Lakers with a record of 29-6 and ERA of 0.68 with 297 strikeouts.  Offensively, Iowa Lakes CC has a solid lineup with the team hitting .406.

District G (Region 12A):  Muskegon Community College, Mich. (54-8) - The Jayhawks are making their first appearance in the NJCAA Division II Softball National Tournament in program history.  Muskegon defeated Owens Community College 3-0 in the Region 12A Championship.  Sophomore Ashley White is the ace of the pitching staff holding a record of 31-5 with an ERA of 0.75 and 336 strikeouts.  Sophomore Ashley Melchert provides the spark for the offense with an average of .454, 79 RBI's, and 18 home runs.  

District H (Region 12B):  Mott Community College, Mich. (37-12) - The Bears are making their first appearance in the NJCAA Division II Softball Championship Tournament by way of defeating Oakland Community College 8-7 after 10 innings of play in the Region 12B Championship.  Mott CC is very spread out in terms of pitching with multiple players racking up wins throughout the season.  Freshman Bridget Miller leads the Bears offensively with a batting average of .436, 21 RBI's and 25 runs. 

 District I (Region 3, 15, 21):  Mercyhurst North East, Penn. (35-13) - The Saints are making it two years in a row now in the national tournament.  Mercyhurst returns with the goal of finishing higher than last year when they were unfortunately bounced out before securing a place.  Freshman Samantha Eimers is leading the way for the Saints carrying an average of .507 with 73 RBI's, 63 runs, 17 home runs, and 17 extra-base hits. 

District J (Region 2, 16):  Murray State College, Okla. (12-37) - The Aggies are making their sixth appearance in program history this year at the national tournament.  Murray State has not fared well in their previous attempts having never finished with a place in the tournament.  After a challenging regular season, the Aggies are headed in as a dark horse team hoping to turn some heads in their time on the national stage.  Freshmen Kaija Morris and Jacquelin Martin are the Aggies offensive leaders.  Morris holds a .376 average with 19 RBI's while Martin carries a .369 average with 23 RBI's.

District K (Region 19):  Mercer County Community College, N.J. (28-10) - The Vikings last made it to the national tournament in 2007 but were unable to make much of a splash when they got there.  This year Mercer County enters in after defeating County College of Morris, 8-5, and securing a Region 19 title.  Leading the team with an ERA of 1.20 is sophomore Jenna Berger who also has 115 strikeouts under her belt.  Berger is also the offensive leader with a .413 batting average, 45 runs, and 16 extra-base hits.

District L (Region 20):  Cecil College, Md. (29-11) - The Seahawks are in unfamiliar territory as this is their first ever trip to the national tournament.  After a successful regular season that ultimately led to a Region 20 championship game victory over Chesapeake Community College, Cecil is ready to take on the next level of competition that the ranks of Division 2 has to offer.  Sophomore Katie Ferguson has been a shut-down pitcher and an offensive power all season long with a pitching record of 17-3 and an ERA of 1.24.  Ferguson has notched 209 strikeouts through just 130 innings of work.  Offensively she leads the team with a .457 batting average, 57 RBI's, 49 runs, and 20 extra-base hits.

District M (Region 23A):  East Central Community College, Miss. (44-9-1) - The Warriors have fought their way into their first NJCAA Division II Softball National Championship Tournament.  East Central defeated Mississippi Gulf Coast CC in the Region 23 championship with a final tally of 7-1.  Freshman Taylor Bailey has been the ace for the Warriors this year carrying an ERA of 1.78 with 121 strikeouts and a record of 25-6.  Freshman Kasie Buckley is the offensive leader with an average of .469, 47 RBI's, and 53 runs.

District N (Region 23B, 22):  Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (36-15) - The Bulldogs have made it to the national tournament for the second year in a row and the fourth in program history.  Their best placing came in 2007 when they finished just outside of the championship game taking 3rd place.  The Bulldogs have a very talented pitching staff that boasts three pitchers with sub-two ERA's.  As team, Mississippi Gulf Coast carries a batting average of .328.  Any spot in their lineup has the potential to not only spark but also carry a big inning.

District O (Region 24A):  Parkland College, Ill. (46-16) - In the last decade the Cobras made a run of six straight national tournament appearances from 2002-07.  This year they have returned to accomplish something they have yet to - win a national championship.  In 2002, '05, and '06, Parkland made it to the championship game but was defeated in every attempt having to settle for 2nd best.  This year the Cobras return with a pitching staff that carries a 1.69 ERA with 218 strikeouts through 404 innings of work.  Offensively they have a team batting average of .342 with seven players hitting above .300 and three above .400.

District P (Region 24B):  Heartland Community College, Ill. (37-18) - The Hawks have returned to defend their 2009 NJCAA National Championship.  This will be Heartland's third straight trip to the national tournament.  The Hawks have yet to finish any worse than 3rd place (2008).  The Hawks have just two players from last year's title team but one of those returning is sophomore Lizzie Andrews.  Andrews was awarded the honor NJCAA 1ST Team All-American in 2009.  Andrews is hitting .443 with 53 RBI's, 64 runs, and 31 extra-base hits.  Sophomore Nicole Laubecher also poses a huge threat to opposing teams.  Laubecher is hitting .483 with 66 RBI's, and 48 runs.

Complete Tournament Schedule:

First Round - May 20th
Game 1 - Kankakee vs. Murray State
Game 2 - Mississippi Gulf Coast vs. Heartland
Game 3 - East Central vs. Mott
Game 4 - Johnson County vs. Mercyhurst
Game 5 -  Muskegon vs. Mercer
Game 6 - South Mountain vs. Highland
Game 7 - Parkland vs. Black Hawk
Game 8 - Cecil vs. Iowa Lakes
Game 9 - Loser G1 vs. Loser G2
Game 10- Loser G3 vs. Loser G4
Game 11 - Loser G5 vs. Loser G6
Game 12 - Loser G7 vs. Loser G8
Game 13 - Winner G1 vs. Winner G2
Game 14 - Winner G3 vs. Winner G4
Game 15 - Winner G5 vs. Winner G6
Game 16: Winner G7 vs. Winner G8

Day 2 - May 21st
Game 17 - Winner G12 vs. Loser G13
Game 18 - Winner G11 vs. Loser G14
Game 19 - Winner G10 vs. Loser G15
Game 20 - Winner G9 vs. Loser G16
Game 21 - Winner G13 vs. Winner G14
Game 22 - Winner G15 vs. Winner G16
Game 23 - Winner G19 vs. Winner G20
Game 24 - Winner G18 vs. Winner G17
Game 25 - Winner G23 vs. Loser G22
Game 26 - Winner G24 vs. Loser G21
Game 27 - Winner G21 vs. Winner G22

Championship Round - May 22nd
Game 28 - Winner G25 vs. Winner G26
Game 29 - Winner G28 vs. Loser G27
Game 30 - Winner G27 vs. Winner G29
Game 31 - if necessary (only if Loser of Game 30 has just one loss)







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