Facing elimination twice today, the Roughrider softball team decimated the No. 4-seeded Seminole State Trojans 14-2, before falling to the No. 1-seeded Florida Southwestern Buccaneers 10-9 in extra innings to bring its memorable 2022 campaign to a close. With the split, the Roughriders leave the NJCAA DI Softball Championship with fifth place and an overall record of 57-6.
Game One: YC 14 – SSC 2
Sophomore pitcher Emily Dix started inside the circle against the Trojans and tossed four innings, allowed two runs (only one of which was earned) and struck out eight. Freshman pitcher Abby Cruz closed out the contest with a scoreless inning and no hits allowed.
YC stepped on the gas pedal from the start in its first game as sophomore outfielder Kayla Rodgers roped an RBI double in the top of the first and later came around to score on a two-out two-run home run off the bat of freshman infielder Lovey Kepa’a.
In the top of the second, sophomore outfielder Mia Weckel doubled in a run and scored on a two-out three-run homer off the bat of freshman infielder Yaya Kaaialii to give the Roughriders a quick 7-0 lead.
Seminole State chipped away with single runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, however, YC put the run-rule into effect with a seven-spot in the top of the fifth.
All seven runs in the frame were unearned and scored with two outs. Two Roughriders crossed the plate on a Seminole error, two more came in on a single from Weckel, Rodgers blasted a two-run homer to center and Kaaialii made it a 14-2 ballgame with a solo shot to go back-to-back with Rodgers.
The aforementioned Cruz tossed a scoreless fifth to bring the game to its final of 14-2.
At the plate, in game one, Weckel, Rodgers, Kaaialii and Kepa’a each had two hits while freshman catcher Jasmine Moreno, freshman infielder Makena Riggs, sophomore utility woman Alyssa Rosales, freshman utility woman Emily Darwin and freshman outfielder Sierra Griego all had one.
Game Two: FSW 10 – YC 9
Darwin started inside the circle against the Buccaneers and was stellar. She pitched 6.1 innings, struck out six and allowed just two earned runs. Dix tossed the final 2.2 innings for YC and allowed just one earned run while striking out four.
The Roughriders started quickly in this contest as well as Kaaialii and Moreno both tallied RBI singles in the top of first inning. Florida Southwestern scored once in the bottom half of the frame and YC led 2-1 after one full inning of play.
In the top of the second, Darwin helped her cause on the mound with an opposite-field solo homer to give YC a 3-1 lead. The Buccaneers got that run back in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to just 3-2.
After scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth innings from both teams, Yavapai and Florida Southwestern saved some fireworks for the late innings.
In the top of the sixth, the Roughriders had an incredible two-out rally result in four runs on a two-run single from Weckel and two-run double from Rodgers.
Now leading 7-2, Yavapai saw Florida Southwestern score three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on some well-placed infield hits.
In the top of the seventh, YC took a 9-5 lead on a two-run homer from Riggs and stood three outs from victory with a four-run lead. Unfortunately, the Buccaneers were able to tie the contest with four runs of their own and send the game into extra innings.
After the teams traded zeros in the eighth and ninth innings, Florida Southwestern hit a walkoff homer to lead off the 10th inning and bring the game to a close.
At the plate, in game two, Moreno led the way with three hits while Weckel, Rodgers and Darwin each had two. Kaaialii, Kepa’a and Riggs each tallied one hit as well.
– D.J. Irwin