The St. Cloud Technical and Community College softball team wrapped up their 2017 campaign with a strong showing at the NJCAA Division III Softball national championships held in Rochester, Minnesota.
The Cyclones picked up a win to open the competition, defeating Onondaga Community College on the first day, 11-3. SCTCC next faced the top-ranked Rock Valley Community College who dealt St. Cloud their first loss in twenty games, 7-0.
At first glance, heading to the consolation championship bracket seemed to not sit well with the Cyclones. They found themselves down 10-3 in their third game just a couple of innings into a contest with Brookdale Community College and all signs pointed to an early exit for Coach Greg Thorstad's squad. However, an amazing comeback highlighted by a pair of home runs and some timely hitting, allowed St. Cloud to battle back into the game, and eventually come away with an improbable but entertaining 12-11 win. The comeback victory was the largest deficit to be overcome by a winning team during the 2017 championship tournament.
With the strong rally to end game three, SCTCC headed into the fourth game with an offensive mentality- however, so did their opponent, Suffolk Community College. A back-and-forth contest ended just shy of where St. Cloud Technical and Community College hoped to land, as the SCC Sharks defeated the Cyclones, 7 - 5.
On the season, SCTCC was a dominant force in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference and Region XIII. SCTCC was 22-1 in Minnesota College Athletic Conference play, with their one loss coming at the hands of MCAC South rival Anoka-Ramsey. On top of the stellar league mark, St. Cloud was 41-9 overall, including a .500 record at the national tournament. Consistency was a major theme in the Cyclones season, as they rattled off a 16-game winning streak in late March and a 19-win streak through the month of May, heading into the national tournament. The Cyclones were featured in the National Top 10, rising as high as #3 in the final poll.
Individually, the Cyclones enjoyed a tremendous pitching battery, with Shania Kinghorn and Ashley Pool providing a potent 1-2 punch. Kinghorn went 19-4 on the season, while Pool earned a 16-4 mark. Both hurlers rarely came out of a game they started, as Kinghorn tallied 21 complete games on the year and Pool went the distance 19 times.
Offensively, SCTCC were led by a trio of solid contact hitters, with Chloe Callahan earning a .500 batting average over the season, Chelsea Schoeder hit at a .400 clip, and Kinghorn batted .481 with an impressive .812 slugging percentage. When not pitching, Ashley Pool showed her offensive talents as well, cracking a team-leading 10 home runs on the year.
While the chance to win a NJCAA national championship did not present itself to the Cyclones in 2017, they will be adding some hardware to their trophy case, with the MCAC Southern Division regular season title and Region XIIIA championship to show for an outstanding season.
For complete stats and standings in MCAC Softball, please visit: www.mcacsports.org
Story courtesy of MCAC Sports