After earning hosting rights to the 2022 NJCAA Division I Region I Tournament with a 50-3 regular season record (42-2 record in the conference), the No. 2-ranked Yavapai College softball team went 4-1 in the tournament, including a 3-0 effort in Saturday’s matchups, to capture the 2022 Region I Championship, 2022 West District Championship and clinch a spot in the NJCAA National Championship Tournament. All three feats double as back-to-back honors as the Roughriders also won the 2021 region tournament.
“As a coach of 21 years, I couldn’t be more proud of what this team accomplished today,” Head Coach Doug Eastman said. “This is a very special group and sometimes, I find myself in awe of their desire to succeed.”
All three games the Roughriders won on Saturday were elimination contests with the first being a 10-5 victory over the No. 12-ranked Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters. Following that win, Yavapai defeated the No. 9-ranked Central Arizona College Vaqueras twice with scores of 10-0 and 20-4 to clinch the region championship.
The Most Valuable Player award of the tournament went to Yavapai’s freshman pitcher Emily Darwin. Darwin started all three games, pitched a shutout in game two and pitched another complete game in game three.
“I could go on and on about what each individual accomplished today, but the effort that Emily Darwin gave us today was simply masterful,” said Eastman. “[Assistant Coach Erika Bennett] and I are proud coaches!”
While Darwin was brilliant on the mound, several Roughrider bats also dominated the day as sophomore utility woman Alyssa Rosales and freshman catcher Jasmine Moreno each boasted three-homer games on the day. In addition, freshman infielder Lovey Kepa’a launched two homers in game three to give her 33 on the season, breaking the Yavapai softball single-season home-run record that was previously held by Jaydee Boursaw who had 32 in 2017.