The Yavapai College softball team wrapped up their third straight NJCAA Region I championship on Saturday. This will be the third straight national tournament appearance for the defending national champions from Prescott.
They plodded through the regional tournament, opening with a 2-1 win over Central Arizona College and moving on to wins over Arizona Western, 5-4, and a title game victory over No. 1-seed Pima CC, 5-4. The margins were slim, but the wins brought their season record to 50-14 and a chance to defend their national crown.
Now they can focus on cheering for the Roughriders’ baseball team while they wait for the start of the national softball tournament next week.
The baseball team secured their third straight ACCAC title and then moved into Region play over the weekend. The Roughriders had to stage two come-from-behind rallies to beat Cochise College Saturday, 9-7, and get a shot at the championship series beginning Thursday.
Cochise didn’t make it easy for them. The lead see-sawed between the two teams and both squads put on a display of power at the plate.
The Apaches jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a home run by Stanley Muller in the first inning, but the Riders scored four of their own in the next inning as Aaron Fujiki hit his version of the home run, scoring three runs. Cochise reclaimed the lead on another homer in the seventh – and then Yavapai finally closed it out in the bottom of the ninth on still another round-trip, this time by Ty Forney.
The baseball team will host the region title series, beginning with the first game Thursday. They will take on Central Arizona College, a team that beat the Roughriders three out of four games during the regular season.
Yavapai is going to need the home-field advantage.
And the extra cheer section.