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HomeAthleticsLovey Kepa’a Wins Home Run Derby At NJCAA Softball Championship

Lovey Kepa’a Wins Home Run Derby At NJCAA Softball Championship

 Lovey Kepa’a Wins Home Run Derby At NJCAA Softball Championship

While the NJCAA Division I Softball Championship Tournament starts on Tuesday, the first form of competition took place on Sunday night, after the tournament’s barbecue, in the form of the NJCAA’s annual home-run derby. 

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13 contestants (one from each team at the tournament) elected to participate with the Roughriders choosing their shortstop (also the nation’s home-run leader with 33 longballs) Lovey Kepa’a to represent Yavapai. Each contestant was given one minute per-round to hit as many home runs as they could with the field being cut in half every round until the third/championship round. 

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Kepa’a (batting last in every round) smashed 15 home runs to lead the field in round one and did the same in round two to advance to the championship round with Kepa’a and two others competing for the derby championship. Needing 12 homers to win the derby in the championship round, Kepa’a launched 15-plus homers with time still left on the clock to win the 2022 NJCAA Home Run Derby. 

“Going into this derby, I didn’t expect to win, I just went in and took it pitch-by-pitch and ended up with the dub,” said Kepa’a after her 45-plus homer performance. “I also want to give a big shoutout to Coach Bennett for being the best front toss coach out there.” 

Yavapai softball’s assistant coach Erika Bennett, in her fourth season of coaching at YC, did the aforementioned front tossing for Kepa’a and was stellar and consistent in every round. 

“Wow, that was fun,” Bennett said after the derby. “It was an exciting atmosphere tonight! Going in, I was a little nervous for the both of us, but it was just another day of throwing BP to her. I am so proud of Lovey, not just what she did tonight, but what she has accomplished throughout this entire season. She is a champion!”

Kepa’a and the rest of the Roughriders are back in action on Tuesday, May 24, at 6 p.m. in their first game of the tournament against the No. 15-seeded Snead State Community College Parsons. The game will take place on field #6 of the Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex with live stats and live streaming links available on GoRoughriders.com/Live

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