Friday, May 10, 2019

Softball Wins Region 18, Advances to Nationals

Winning championships is never an easy task in college athletics, regardless of how dominant the program is.

The No. 6 Salt Lake Community College softball program has met nearly every challenge in the 2019 season, rolling into a Region 18 championship game matchup with Southern Idaho full of momentum. The Bruins earned two run-rule wins to open the tourney, setting the expectations for SLCC to continue the trend. Instead, Salt Lake had to come back before ultimately earning a 7-3 win to claim their first Region 18 crown since 2017. 

Tarni Stepto

With Tarni Stepto - the Region 18 Pitcher-of-the-Year - throwing for SLCC in the circle, Southern Idaho rolled to an early 3-0 lead in the fourth inning, giving the Golden Eagles an early edge. However, fans should never underestimate a champion's heart and SLCC would accordingly go on to score seven unanswered runs to pick up the victory.

First, Savanna Montoya hit a two-RBI triple in the fourth inning to get on the board, followed by a Paige Reynolds RBI single to tie the game at 3-3. Mackenzy Richins broke the tie with an RBI single in the fifth inning that scored Taylor Sorensen. Leading 5-3 in the sixth inning, Mallory Barber hit an RBI double to take control, followed up by Mia Cullimore's single. 

Stepto earned the victory while allowing just five hits and two earned runs. She struck out 13 hitters in the game. Cullimore, Richins and Montoya all went 2-of-3 at the plate. 

The Bruins have now qualified to their fourth NJCAA tournament in the last five seasons. SLCC took second in their last NJCAA appearance in 2017. Salt Lake has qualified for ten NJCAA tourneys all-time.