The 2022 Yavapai College softball team is off to Yuma, Arizona, and is trying to do something that only the 2009 and 2011 teams have done at Yavapai: win a national championship.
The NJCAA DI Softball Championship takes place in Yuma, Arizona, at the Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex in the form of a 16-team double-elimination tournament. In addition to the No. 2-seeded Roughriders, the following teams will be competing for a ring:
No. 1 – Florida Southwestern
No. 3 – Wallace State
No. 4 – Seminole State (Oklahoma)
No. 5 – Odessa
No. 6 – Butler (Kansas)
No. 7 – McLennan
No. 8 – Chattanooga State
No. 9 – Southern Idaho
No. 10 – Crowder
No. 11 – Central Florida
No. 12 – San Jacinto
No. 13 – Lake Land
No. 14 – Paris
No. 15 – Snead State
No. 16 – Georgia Military
The full bracket can be found here. Yavapai’s first matchup will take place on Tuesday, May 24, at 6 p.m. on Field #6 of the complex against No. 15 Snead State. The Parsons went 36-25 this season and won the Mid-Atlantic District Tournament to earn a spot in the tournament.
Ticket prices for the tournament are as follows: $50 for a five day adult pass, $40 for a five day senior/youth pass, $15 for an adult day pass and $10 for a senior/youth pass. Spectator parking is free of charge and is located on the west side of the complex, close to the pond and children’s play area.
How To Stream
The tournament will be broadcasted on the NJCAA Network with the following prices: $10 for a day pass, $25 for a tournament pass and $5 for the championship game. The NJCAA Network links can be found on GoRoughriders.com/Live.
Yavapai softball has been nothing short of spectacular this season. The Roughriders came into the 2022 season ranked No. 5 in the NJCAA and climbed all the way up to No. 1, before finishing the season as the No. 2-ranked team in the country.
After a 50-3 regular season that featured a 42-2 mark in conference games, Yavapai earned the West District Championship by winning the NJCAA Division I Region I Tournament at home with a 4-1 record to clinch a spot in the NJCAA DI Softball Championship.
At 54-4 overall, the Roughriders have earned 16 victories over ranked opponents so far in 2022 and boast two separate win streaks of 15-or-more games, including a 19-game win streak from January 28 – February 26 and a 28-game win streak from March 1 – April 30.
The statistics are just as impressive as the records for the Roughriders as Yavapai leads the country in runs scored, doubles, homers, RBIs, XBH, total bases, walks, batting average, OBP% and SLG%.
Inside the circle, Emily Darwin and Emily Dix form the one-two punch for YC that has been a force all season long. Dix is 25-2 so far with a 1.76 ERA and 252 strikeouts in 147.1 innings pitched. Darwin is 24-2 so far with a 2.05 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 133 innings pitched. Dix earned ACCAC Pitcher of the Year honors this season while Darwin took home Tournament MVP honors at the NJCAA Division I Region I Tournament.
At the plate, the Roughrider offense is filled with power and can seem unstoppable at times. Nine Roughriders boast double-digit home-run totals: Lovey Kepa’a (33), Kayla Rodgers (24), Yaya Kaaialii (23), Alyssa Rosales (21), Jasmine Moreno (20), Makena Riggs (20), Mia Weckel (18), Ashley Fields (11) and Cheyenne Sandoval (10).
Six Roughriders are hitting above .450: Weckel (.460), Moreno (.485), Sierra Griego (.485), Kepa’a (.500), Rodgers (.559) and Kaaialii (.562) while seven Roughriders have driven in 60-or-more runs: Rosales (61), Weckel (65), Riggs (69), Moreno (75), Rodgers (80), Kaaialii (83) and Kepa’a (102).
Kepa’a earned ACCAC Player of the Year honors earlier this season while Dix, Darwin, Kaaialii, Rodgers and Weckel all earned First-Team All-Conference accolades. Moreno and Riggs were named Second-Team All-Conference as well.
In addition, Head Coach Doug Eastman was named ACCAC Coach of the Year in addition to him and Assistant Coach Erika Bennett being named NFCA NJCAA West Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
– D.J. Irwin