Co-Lin softball seeded second in upcoming NJCAA World Series

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The defending national champion Copiah-Lincoln CC softball team will be seeded second overall in the NJCAA Division II World Series after the bracket was revealed on Tuesday. The tourna-ment runs May 20-23 and will be played in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

As one of the top four seeds of the 20-team bracket, Co-Lin (42-5) will get a first-round bye and awaits the winner between no. 15 seed Central Alabama (39-17) and No. 18 seed St. Louis (42-11). Both Central Alabama and St. Louis qualified for the tournament via at-large bids.

The no. 1 overall seed of the tournament is Parkland College, out of Champagne, Illinois. Parkland beat Co-Lin 6-4 in an early season tournament on Feb. 24 and the Cobras (57-4) have been ranked No. 1 in every NJCAA poll published this season.

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Jones College (40-13) is seeded No. 4 overall and will also have a first-round bye.

The Bobcats from Ellisville beat Co-Lin 7-5 on Saturday in the Region 23 championship game. Co-Lin jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one full inning on Saturday. Leadoff batter Madison Moak hit the first of her two home runs to begin the game as the Wolves raced out to a fast start.

Jones used the longball to get back into the game though, going up 6-5 in the top of the fifth via a three-run shot by Makynlie Jones. That was the second home run of the day for Jones as she also hit a dinger in the second to get the Bobcats on the board.

Jones College then added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Jayden Sawyer hit a one-run blast to score the final run of the game. Sawyer leads Division II with 28 home runs this season.

It was Sawyer who started in the circle for Jones on Saturday and gave up the early runs to the Wolves. She was replaced by Reanna Nieman, who allowed only three hits and no runs over the final 5.2 innings of action.

It was only the fourth loss of the season for standout starting pitcher Cara Biswell of Co-Lin, who gave up six runs on six hits in 4.2 innings of work.

Co-Lin and Jones are on opposite sides of the bracket, as they were last year when the Wolves won back-to-back games over the Bobcats to earn the first national championship in school history.

They won’t be the only schools from Mississippi in the field, as East Central CC received an at-large bid. The Warriors (36-15) from Decatur are seeded No. 11 and will play Kirkwood (Iowa), the No. 6 seed, in the opening round.

Co-Lin and ECCC are on the same side of the bracket, as is the No. 3 seeded team from Murray State (55-5). Murray State, located in Oklahoma, came into the tournament last year as the undefeated, top overall seed and was handed its first loss of the season by Co-Lin.

If Co-Lin reaches the third round, they’ll play either No. 7 seed Phoenix (Arizona) or No. 10 seed Johnson County (Kansas).

The first game for coach Meleah Howard and her team is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21.

Additionally on Tuesday, All-Conference honors for the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference (MACCC) were announced. 

Moak (Brookhaven Academy) and Abby Grace Richardson (Brookhaven Academy) were named First Team All-MACCC. Biswell (Brandon High), freshman catcher Kinley Ainsworth (Puckett High), and freshman Taylor Efferson (Holden, La.) were named Second Team All-MACCC. Freshman outfielder Emeri Warren (Leake Academy) and sophomore infielder Zykeria Cole (Simpson Academy) were named Honorable Mention All-MACCC.

Richardson was additionally named 2024 Player of the Year of the MACCC. The sophomore Mis-sissippi State signee has hit 20 home runs and driven in 60 home runs this season for Co-Lin. Richardson boasts a .470 batting average and is second in the nation with 55 walks this season.