Co-Lin takes third in national tourney

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NORMAL, Ill. — The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Lady Wolvesmade their first-ever appearance in the NJCAA Division II NationalSoftball Tournament a moment to remember. Making an impressiveperformance, they finished third in the final standings behind3-time national champion Phoenix (Ariz.) College and 2-timerunner-up Parkland (Ill.) at Champion Fields.

Co-Lin (39-9) played its final game Saturday morning at 9 the Wolfpack absorbed a 2-1 loss to Parkland (50-8). In a Fridaymorning game, they had defeated Parkland by a similar score, beforemeeting Phoenix(Ariz.) College and losing 2-1 in extra innings.

Phoenix (55-9) whipped Parkland 6-1 in the championshipfinals.

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“We wound up third, so we have nothing to be ashamed of,” saidCo-Lin coach Allen Kent. “We lost to the No. 1 and No. 2 teams inthe nation. We played some real quality teams.”

Co-Lin only had 1 home run to its credit entering the nationaltournament which featured several power hitters. The Wolfpackrelied on bunts, singles, doubles, timely hitting, pitching anddefense to realize their greatest campaign.

“Our girls accomplished a lot this season,” said Kent. “They putCo-Lin softball on the map. We appreciate all the fan support.”

This was Kent’s fourth season at the helm. Co-Lin beganfastpitch softball 6 years ago.

“This is a very special group of girls,” said Kent. “Oursophomores will be difficult to replace. I appreciate all the helpJohnny Williams has provided as an assistant coach.”

Parkland 2, Co-Lin 1

The Lady Cobras pushed home the winning run in the bottom of thethird frame. A double by shortstop Shelby Binion led off theinning. A sacrifice bunt and an RBI single put Parkland up 2-1.

Co-Lin had threatened to score the go-ahead run in the third butfell just short. It was another play at the plate, Erin Douglasssingled to center and Jackie Stowe was called out at home.

“It looked like Jackie got under the tag,” said Kent. “That wasa big play because it would have given us the lead.”

Sophomore pitcher Emily Horne absorbed the loss. She struck out6 batters, walked 2 and gave up 6 hits. She threw 94 pitches, 57 ofthem for strikes.

Co-Lin also had 6 hits off Holly Walden, the winning pitcher.She struck out 7 batters and walked none.

“Emily hung in there and gave us a chance to win,” said Kent.”She gave up six runs in four games. Only four of those runs wereearned.”

Co-Lin scored its only run in the third inning. Pyles singled toleft but was forced out at second base on a grounder by AnnieSelman who later stole second. Stowe singled to center and drove inSelman for a 1-1 deadlock.

The Cobras left 9 runners on base and Co-Lin stranded 4.

“We played some good teams but we were able to play with all ofthem,” said Co-Lin freshman catcher Lauren Smith. “We played someclose games. It was a matter of inches.”

Horne and Selman were named to the all-tournament team.Catcher/designated hitter Lindsay Kelso of Phoenix was named MostValuable Player.