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NJCAA Softball Championship Provides Thrilling Competition

May 22, 2018

For the 13th consecutive year, eight of the best collegiate softball teams in the nation made their way to Rochester, MN to participate in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Softball Championship this past weekend. Great weather, and even better competition on the field, made for one of the best Championships to date.

Perennial powerhouses Herkimer County Community College (NY) and Rock Valley College (IL) traded places atop the NJCAA DIII Softball Rankings numerous times throughout the season. However, after long seasons filled with weather issues across the county, it was time for these rivals to settle things on the field once and for all. Ultimately, Herkimer was awarded the #1 seed by the Selection Committee, while Rock Valley was awarded the #2 seed as they began their pursuit of their 5th consecutive National Championship.

After both teams cruised through their first two games of the tournament, Rock Valley defeated Herkimer 2-1 and were one win away from securing the title. Herkimer then defeated the #6 seed North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) in the semi-final by a score of 6-0 to set up a rematch with Rock Valley. NDSCC took home 3rd place, a miraculous finish considering the team was making their first appearance at the National Tournament after winning only 4 total games last season.

Herkimer then faced and defeated Rock Valley 2-1 in a hard-fought battle to force one final winner-take-all game for the trophy. In the Championship game, Rock Valley came out swinging with a solo home run in the top of the 1st inning by shortstop Annaka Bartz, who took home both Offensive and Defensive Player of the tournament awards. Herkimer bounced back with a couple of runs to take a 2-1 lead, but timely hitting with runners on base led to a five run 5th inning for Rock Valley. Then, Rock Valley Pitcher Jordan Hall, who dominated throughout the tournament and was named MVP, shut the door on any hopes of a comeback for Herkimer, pitching the last 3 innings without allowing a baserunner to secure the 6-2 victory and their 5th consecutive Championship.

While these events require a great deal of time, planning, and execution in order for them to be successful, when all is said and done it is extremely rewarding to know that we have a huge hand in creating memories for these athletes that will last a lifetime. Everyone we encounter expresses extreme gratitude for the attention to detail provided by Rochester Sports and its’ many volunteers and staff members that work hard to ensure a positive experience. While there are both tears of joy and tears of sadness in the end, 20 years from now these athletes will certainly look back on the moments they shared in Rochester, Minnesota with smiles on their faces, and that is all that we can ask.

Upcoming Events:

May 26-27: Scheels Med-City Marathon