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FPN 2016 NJCAA Division I Softball Championship Preview

2016 NJCAA DI Softball Championship

Fastpitch News has published its in-depth preview for the 2016 NJCAA Division I Softball Championships in St. George, Utah from May 18-21, 2016. Below you will find the seeding, our FPN Pre-Championship Ranking and the FPN Power Rankings. We preview each first round game and offer our predictions on the winner side of the brackets.

2016 NJCAA Division I Softball Championship Seeding

1. Tyler (TX)
2. Salt Lake (UT)
3. Chipola (FL)
4. Butler (KS)
5. Florida Southwestern State (FL)
6. McLennan (TX)
7. NE Oklahoma A&M (OK)
8. Yavapai (AZ)
9. Walters State (TN)
10. Lake Land (IL)
11. Wallace State (AL)
12. San Jacinto-South (TX)
13. Howard (TX)
14. Indian Hills (IA)
15. Spartanburg Methodist (SC)
16. Georgia Military (GA)

About FPN NJCAA Pre-Championship Ranking

This ranking is based on record, statistics and strength of schedule. If we were seeding the tournament, this is how we would do it.

FPN NJCAA Pre-Championship Ranking

1. Tyler (TX)
2. Butler (KS)
3. Salt Lake (UT)
4. McLennan (TX)
5. Chipola (FL)
6. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (OK)
7. Florida Southwestern State (FL)
8. Walters State (TN)
9. Yavapai (AZ)
10. Spartanburg Methodist (SC)
11. Wallace State (AL)
12. San Jacinto-South (TX)
13. Howard (TX)
14. Lake Land (IL)
15. Indian Hills (IA)
16. Georgia Military (GA)

About the FPN Power Rankings

The power rankings are not a traditional ranking and are based on statistical data. They are not designed to be our prediction rather a simple point of reference when comparing the teams. They do not take into account head to head games or wins and losses. It solely looks at productivity on the season and ranks that against the 16 teams in the tournament. Statistics used for offense; BA, OBP, SLG, Runs and Runs per game. Statistics used for pitching; ERA, WHIP, K/G and runs allowed per game. Statistics used for fielding: Errors, Errors per game and Fielding Percentage.

FPN Tournament Power Rankings

1. Tyler (TX)
2. Butler (KS)
3. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (OK)
4. Spartanburg Methodist (SC)
5. McLennan (TX)
6. Lake Land (IL)
7. Chipola (FL)
8. Yavapai (AZ)
9. Walters State (TN)
10. Howard (TX)
11. Indian Hills (IA)
12. Salt Lake (UT)
13. Florida Southwestern State (FL)
14. Wallace State (AL)
15. San Jacinto-South (TX)
16. Georgia Military (GA)

Tournament Preview of First Round Games and Prediction

Top Side (Ranking is the teams seed)

Game 1: No. 1 Tyler over No. 16 Georgia Military

Tyler SoftballTyler Junior College (TX), District L & Region 14B
Nickname: Apaches
Head Coach: Nicole Dickson (3 years)
Overall Record: 57-4
Last 10: 7-3
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): No. 1
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 1

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 3)

They carry a team BA of near .400 and a slash line of .391/.466/.637 with 76 home runs on the year. Tanna Huie leads the team with an impressive .518 average and a .810 SLG. The Apaches most impressive hitter may be Jazlyn Crowder (.464) who has 15 home runs, 30 doubles and four triples to give her a .841 slugging percentage. With five of the nine main starters batting over .400 and three players hitting 10 or more home runs the Apaches are a dangerous team at the plate.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 2)

Coach Dickson has one of the best pitching staffs in the country with what could be three Aces on the staff. That is a good problem to have as it gives a team a variety of options. Abby Walker (25-3) threw the most innings (167.2) for a 1.80 ERA and 240 strikeouts. Walker averages 10.02 strikeouts per game. Cassidy Ferrill (20-0) could not have been better for the Apaches with a perfect record and a 1.52 ERA over 119.2 innings. Finally, they also have Alicia Garcia (11-1) and her 1.86 ERA over 71.1 innings. They have depth and ability.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 2)

Not only can the Apaches hit and pitch, they are also good in the filed only committing 54 errors on the season for a .972 fielding percentage. They average less than one error per game (.89). They can hit, pitch and rarely make defensive mistakes and that is why they will be favored.

Georgia-Military-CollegeGeorgia Military College (GA), District M & Region 17
Nickname: Bulldogs
Head Coach: Ashley Bunn (6 years)
Overall Record: 35-22
Last 10: 8-2
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): Not Ranked
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 16

The Bulldogs have been playing well as of late. They avenged their only two losses in the past month to earn a trip to the championship. They are a hardworking team that will need to take a big step forward against the top teams in the country. They have struggled at times with pitching and defense.

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 14)

The Bulldogs will not wow you with offensive statistics, they hold a .343/.399/.465 line. Their top hitter is Ansley Wilbanks who comes into the tournament with a .514 BA, .541 OBP and 45 stolen bases. Wilbanks has only struck out once all season making her a tough out. Power comes from Taylor Little who has 14 home runs on the season. They do have some speed and all but one of their main starters are hitting above .300.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 14)

The Bulldogs rely on two pitchers for the most part in Madason Messer (16-8) and Danielle Downs (13-7). Neither are strikeout pitchers and as a team they average just 3.22 per game. Messer has a 3.19 ERA over 171 innings and Downs carries a 2.86 ERA over 117.2 innings. They will face some good hitting teams at the tournament so it will be interesting to see how this staff does.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 16)

Fielding is an area the Bulldogs will need to take a big step forward in. They average 2.01 errors per game for a .932 fielding percentage. They have committed 115 errors on the year.

Game Thoughts

The Apaches are the team to beat on paper. They are strong in all three areas of the game. They put together winning streaks of 16 games and 36 games this season. Although they have lost three games in the last month. If they play to the level, they have the great majority of the season, they will be very tough to handle. The Bulldogs have been playing well as of late. They avenged their only two losses in the past month to earn a trip to the championship. They are a hardworking team that will need to take a big step forward against the top teams in the country. They have struggled at times with pitching and defense. Expect Tyler to put pressure on the Bulldogs from the opening pitch. Although you should never count anyone out in a national tournament, Georgia Military will have to play above what they have most the season to spring an upset.


Game 2: No. 9 Walters State over No. 8 Yavapai

Yavapai CollegeYavapai (AZ), District A & Region 1
Nickname: Roughriders
Head Coach: Doug Eastman (First year)
Overall Record: 47-15
Last 10: 6-4
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): No. 14
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 8

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 7)

They are strong at the plate and that is backed up by solid pitching. They have three players in the double digits for home runs in Andrea Sotelo (18), Sydney Forray (14) and Dustie Durham (10). The team’s best hitter is Sotelo and her slash sits at .450/.486/.835. As a team the Roughriders average 6.92 runs per game which is about middle of the pack with this group. On the season thus far they have sent 68 balls over the fence. This team has power and can change the score in a hurry. Another interesting statistic is that seven of the nine primary batters have an above. .400 on-base percentage (OBP) and only a .088 strike out ratio which equates to only eight strikeouts per 100 at-bats.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 8)

Although their pitchers do not come into the tournament with overly impressive win/loss records, they have pitched pretty well. Amy Robinson (31-6) has carried the bulk of the load throwing 221 innings of the 395.1 the Roughriders have played. She has an ERA of 1.48 and averages 6.5 strikeouts per game. The other pitcher is Dustie Durham (14-8) with a 3.32 ERA. Both are freshman for coach Eastman.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 9)

As stated previous they have decent defense with a .947 fielding percentage. They average 1.42 errors per game on the season and 88 total on the year.

Walters StateWalters State (TN), District F & Region 7
Nickname: Lady Senators
Head Coach: Larry Sauceman (18 years)
Overall Record: 42-9
Last 10: 7-3
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): No. 13
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 9

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 15)

Walters State does not generate a ton of runs averaging just 6.36 per game. Now that is towards the bottom among those playing in the tournament. They do hit for some power with 57 long balls on the season and two players Katelyn Davidson (11) and Shelby Shanks (10) both have double digit home runs. Overall their line is .341/.390/.533. Timely hitting will be the key to their offensive success.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 3)

The strength of coach Sauceman’s team is pitching. They carry a team ERA of just 1.51 with 245 strikeouts to just 57 walks. Leading the way is Lora Thompson (19-3) with her 129 strikeouts and 1.54 ERA. She has basically split innings with Leslie Odom (15-3) who has the lower ERA (1.48) of the two. She has posted 81 strikeouts to just 12 walks. Everyone knows that strong pitching can carry a team a long way and having two good ones is even better.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 8)

Fielding is an area that can be a bit confusing with this team. They come into the tournament with the lowest fielding percentage (.764) but have only committed 56 errors on the season and have a good 1.19 per game average.

Game Thoughts

The Roughriders come into the tournament having only won three of their last seven games. But they got the wins when they needed them to advance to the championship. Coming into the tournament they carry a .384/.432/.585 slash line (Batting Average, On-base percentage, Slugging percentage). The Lady Senators rely heavily on strong pitching and winning close games. They are an average hitting team with decent power numbers. Defense may a bit of an issue at times but they have a pitching staff that can work out of tight jams. These two are evenly matched making it a hard one to predict. In the end we are going with the team playing better at the end of the season and with slightly better pitching in Walters State.


Game 3: No. 5 Florida Southwestern over No. 12 San Jacinto-South

Florida SouthwesternFlorida Southwestern State (FL), District H & Region 8B
Nickname: Buccaneers
Head Coach: Robert Iamurri (1 year)
Overall Record: 52-14
Last 10: 7-3
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): No. 11
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 13

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 12)

From the plate the Buccaneers use a balanced approach with a mix of speed and some power. They carry a .340/.407/.488 slash line with 40 home runs on the season. Molly Roark provides the power and has posted 13 home runs on the season and is tied for the lead in RBI (58) with Kayla Rangiawha. Rangiawha is a great contact hitter that tends to come up with big hits when needed. Marta Fuentes gives them some speed at the top of the order.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 11)

Although they come in ninth on our pitching power rankings that is a bit deceiving. They rely almost solely on their Ace Courtney Gettins (38-4). If we used just her numbers they would be among the top in this category. Gettins is impressive and has posted a 1.49 ERA with 266 strike outs on the season for a 6.94 per game average. At one point she had won 24 games in a row. She also has the ability to pitch her team out of trouble. She will be a big reason for success at the tournament.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 14)

Fielding is not a strength of the Buccaneers who have committed 103 errors on the season for a 1.56 per game average. They come into the tournament with a .943 fielding percentage. If they tighten up and Gettins continues her ways, they could make some noise.

San Jacinto CollegeSan Jacinto-South College (TX), District K & Region 14A
Nickname: Coyotes
Head Coach: Kelly Saenz (12 years)
Overall Record: 36-23
Last 10: 10-0
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): Not Ranked
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 15

The Coyotes are really the wild card coming into the tournament. They do not have impressive overall record, but they have won 10 straight including two wins against No. 1 Tyler (TX). If you are thinking it was a case of Tyler resting their pitchers or something along those lines, that is not the case. Tyler threw their top pitchers in the two games and the Coyotes came out on top 6-2 and 7-2. Despite the record and overall statistics, they may be the hottest team coming into the championship.

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 16)

The Coyotes low power ranking is a reflection of their overall season and their .331/.400/.452 line. But if we look at their last 10 games they have shown explosiveness that they had not most the regular season. In those 10 games they have outscored the opposition 73-18 for a 4.06:1 ratio. Their season ratio was just 1.29:1. They are not a power hitting team and have no hitters that broke double digits in home runs. Their top hitter is Katlin Kerl with a .426 BA. They did raise their team batting average 119 points from March to April. Could be dangerous if they stay hot.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 12)

Coach Saenz went primarily with a two pitcher rotation in Niki Gonzalez (24-8) and Carol Raabe (9-8). Gonzalez had a productive season posting a 1.86 ERA with 265 strikeouts over 199 innings. That was good for an average of 9.32 strikeouts per game. We have to assume that Saenz will use Gonzalez as much as possible during the tournament.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 12)

Based on their overall season defense may be a concern, the Coyotes committed 90 errors on the season for .945 fielding percentage. They will need to tighten up some as errors in tournaments like this can be critical.

Game Thoughts

The Buccaneers are a first year program that has found success and the main reason is due to strong pitching. They are an aggressive base running team but lack stability on defense. They have used some timely hitting combined with strong pitching to put together an impressive 52-win season. The Coyotes are really the wild card coming into the tournament. They do not have impressive overall record, but they have won 10 straight including two wins against No. 1 Tyler (TX). If you are thinking it was a case of Tyler resting their pitchers or something along those lines, that is not the case. Tyler threw their top pitchers in the two games and the Coyotes came out on top 6-2 and 7-2. Despite the record and overall statistics, they may be the hottest team coming into the championship. This is an interesting game for sure. We have San Jacinto-South who has been on a roll facing a first year program in Florida Southwestern with an outstanding pitcher. This is not an easy game for either team and probably is the must watch game of the first round. We give a slight edge to Florida Southwestern mostly due to pitching. Both teams will need to limit errors though and that could end up being the deciding factor.


Game 4: No. 4 Butler over No. 13 Howard

Butler Community CollegeButler Community College (KS), District E & Region 6, 9
Nickname: Grizzlies
Head Coach: Doug Chance (12 years)
Overall Record: 48-4
Last 10: 10-0
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): No. 6
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 2

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 2)

Butler has a strong line-up that has also displayed power and the team carries a .386/.468/.653 line. On the season the Grizzlies have 67 home runs. Morgan Bohanan comes into the championship with a .500 BA and a .568 OBP. Three players have slugging percentages above .800 in Becca Schulte (.851), Megan Wurts (.837) and Amelia Cutchlow (.824). Schulte also leads the team in home runs (13) and RBI (66).

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 1)

Coach Chance brings a strong pitching staff to the tournament. As a staff they hold a 1.49 ERA and average 6.36 strikeouts per game. They use two pitchers evenly in Regan Mergele (23-3) and Jennifer Hittinger (20-1). Both have been outstanding for the Grizzlies. Mergele has a 1.49 ERA with 130 strikeouts over 131.1 innings. Hittinger holds a 1.76 ERA with 89 strikeouts over 123.1 innings. A rotation like this is exactly what a coach wants for tournament play.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 4)

Butler is also a good fielding team with a .952 fielding percentage and have committed just 49 errors on the season. They are just one of four teams to average less than one error per game (.94).

Howard CollegeHoward College (TX), District C & Region 5W
Nickname: Hawks
Head Coach: Kelly Raines (10 years)
Overall Record: 44-15
Last 10: 9-1
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): Not Ranked
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 10

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 4)

Howard has power and lots of it. Matter of fact they have hit more home runs than any other team in the tournament with 87 and five of their nine main starters are in the double digits. Those five are Kaylynn Lopez (21), Lusi Stanley (18), Jackie Mercado (15), Kylee Keller (11) and Shelby Ume (10). A line-up like this makes it tough for pitchers to work around a hitter since over half of the order is a threat to go deep. Both Lopez and Stanley have slugging percentages over .800 and are one and two in RBI with 72 and 71 respectively. They carry a team slash of .383/.451/.622 which is solid.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 15)

Pitching will be the big question mark heading into the tournament. Again, this is not a bad pitching team, but they have given up plenty of runs. Coach Raines platoons the Hawk pitchers using all four on staff. Celeste Villagrana (16-0) leads the way despite not throwing the most innings. She carries a 3.47 ERA and does average over five strikeouts per game. The issue is she has also given up 14 homeruns. She will be important to the success of the Hawks.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 15)

The other area of concern will be fielding. As a team they have committed 99 errors on the season for a 1.68 errors per game average. The hawks currently have a .938 fielding percentage.

Game Thoughts

The Grizzlies come into the tournament on a roll having won 33 straight games. They have done so with solid hitting and good pitching. They will look to carry that into the championship. They outscore opponents at a rate of four to one. The Howard Hawks are a good example of the debate between great hitting or great pitching. This team has power and can go long. Their pitching is not bad, but it is not the strength of the team. They have won nine straight heading into the championship and in those nine games they are averaging nine runs per game. They question will be if their big bats can carry them through. It appears that Butler has the pitching staff that could slow down the hot Howard bats. Good hitting vs. Good pitching is what you get in this one.

Round 2

  • Game 13: No. 1 Tyler over No. 9 Walters State
  • Game 14: No.4 Butler over No. 5 Florida Southwestern

Round 3

  • Game 21: No. 1 Tyler over No. 4 Butler

Bottom Side

Round 1

Game 5: No. 3 Chipola over No. 14 Indian Hills

Chipola CollegeChipola College (FL), District G & Region 8A
Nickname: Indians
Head Coach: Belinda Hendrix (10 years)
Overall Record: 45-13
Last 10: 9-1
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): Not Ranked
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 7

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 11)

As stated the Indians will not beat you with power but they are consistent at the plate. The have a .361/.441/.488 slash line that supports their consistent approach. The one player who does provide some pop to the order is Madison Regan who has 16 home runs and impressive .419/.515/.831 line. Another one to watch out for is Dana Edmundson and her .477/.549/.580 line. They will put pressure on teams and chip away at the plate.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 5)

Coach Hendrix has the luxury of a good and deep pitching staff that has a combined ERA of 1.61. They are led by Ilona Andringa (26-3) and her 1.02 ERA in the season. She is averaging just under seven strike outs per game (6.82). Brianna Surrento (10-2) has thrown the bulk of the other innings and is having a good season as well with her 1.70 ERA. Pitching could be what helps the Indians capture their second straight championship.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 6)

The Indians have a solid defense to back up their strong pitching with a .949 fielding percentage. On the season they have committed 71 errors for a 1.22 per game average.

Indian HillsIndian Hills Community College (IA), District J & Region 11, 16
Nickname: Warriors
Head Coach: Laura North (3 years)
Overall Record: 41-17
Last 10: 7-3
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): Not Ranked
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 11

The Warriors may have some work ahead of them. Their season ended better than it started. They went just 4-6 through their first 10 games. They have shown some power from the plate but their biggest question mark may be around their pitching and the level of hitters they may face at the tournament.

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 8)

Indian Hills has a decent slash line of .369/.434/.577 with 65 home runs on the season. The Warriors have two power hitters both hitting over .400 in Kacey Duffield (.446) and Emily Brown (.419). Duffield has 19 home runs and 71 RBI to go along with an impressive .973 SLG. Brown has hit 16 balls out of the park to go with her .780 SLG. Scoring runs should be a strength of this team.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 16)

The Warriors pitching will be the one part of their game that could cause them problems. They have a team ERA of 3.32 and a below average strikeout to walk ratio 1.28:1. They relied mostly on two pitchers in Nataliah Hopkins (20-7) and Marissa Promes (11-6). Neither are strikeout pitchers so strong defense will be key to any success the Warriors have at the tournament.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 7)

Coach North’s squad has played decent defense this season with a .958 fielding percentage committing 78 errors on the season. As stated the strength of their defense is important as both pitchers seem to be more of contact type pitchers.

Game Thoughts

Chipola is your defending national champion and are playing very well heading into the tournament. They were unranked heading into the district tournament, but looked sharp finishing ahead of the No. 2, 3, 4 and 12 teams in the country. They are a well-coached team that has good balance on both sides with strong pitching. They are aggressive on the bases but do lack power at the plate. One thing you will notice about them is they are an athletic group that plays with intensity. The Warriors may have some work ahead of them. Their season ended better than it started. They went just 4-6 through their first 10 games. They have shown some power from the plate but their biggest question mark may be around their pitching and the level of hitters they may face at the tournament. Look for the defending champions to come out aggressive from the first pitch and advance.


Game 6: No. 6 McLennan over No. 11 Wallace State

McLennan Community CollegeMcLennan Community College (TX), District D & Region 5N
Nickname: Highlassies
Head Coach: Manual Ordones (14 years)
Overall Record: 42-12
Last 10: 7-3
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): No. 8
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 5

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 9)

McLennan is right in the middle of this group when it comes to offense with a .381/.462/.526 slash line. Like we stated they are not a power hitting team, they have just 27 home runs on the season, but they do reach base nearly half of their at bats (.462). Theresa Gonzales is batting .462 with a .512 OBP and leads the team in doubles (26). Both Victoria Gonzales and Marisa Flores have above .400 averages and an OBP near .500. Teams will need to play strong defense against a team like this.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 10)

Coach Ordones leans heavy on two pitchers, one is a strikeout type in Kayleigh Williams (19-8) the other is more of a contact pitcher in Chanlynn Turner (15-3). Williams has thrown 163.1 innings and is averaging 6.99 strikeouts per game and carries 2.10 ERA. Turner has thrown 121 innings with a 2.72 ERA and averages just 2.49 strikeouts per game. They have a decent one, two punch that should help them be in the hunt.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 1)

On paper the Highlassies are the best defensive team in the championship with a .966 fielding percentage and a .87 error per game average. They have only committed 47 errors on the season. They will put the old adage “defense wins championships” to the test.

Wallace StateWallace State (AL), District O & Region 22A
Nickname: Lions
Head Coach: Jayne Clem (17 years)
Overall Record: 48-20
Last 10: 8-2
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): Not Ranked
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 14

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 13)

The Lions have some power in a line-up that posted a .321/.393/.522 line with 71 home runs on the year. They have four players that hit more than 10 home runs in Molli Garcia (15), Katie Parr (14), Taylor Beshears (13) and Shelby Brown (12). With four power hitters they will be dangerous with the short corners in Utah. Beshears also has 33 doubles and eight triples with a .460 BA making her one of the more dangerous hitters on the team.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 13)

The Lions used eight different pitchers throughout the season with three doing the majority of the work in Brittany Ledbetter (19-5), Jessie Butler (5-3) and Julia Dailey (10-0). Ledbetter threw the bulk of the innings (166.2) for a 3.23 ERA and 136 strikeouts. Butler had 91 innings of work resulting in a 2.69 ERA. Dailey was effect not losing a game while earning a 1.52 ERA over 64.1 innings. Dailey was not even pitching for the Lions when the season started but they were struggling and coach Clem moved her and it has paid off.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 11)

The Lions have had some issues on the defensive side of the ball and enter the tournament with a .947 fielding percentage. As a team they have committed 99 errors thus far.

Game Thoughts

The Highlassies bring balance to the championship with solid hitting, pitching and a strong defense. They will not beat you on the long ball, but they can generate offense with consistent hitting. One thing they do is reach base and create scoring chances. Balanced teams are generally the hardest to deal with and generally are good at capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes. The Lions are no strangers to success winning a national title back in 2013 and in the top three four times in the past seven years. It has been the tale of two seasons for coach Clem as the Lions were just 6-14 through their first 20 games. After that they went 42-6. That tells us things are headed in the right direction for them. This has the makings of a good game, in the send great defense may win this one for McLennan.


Game 7: No. 7 NE Oklahoma over No. 10 Lake Land

NEONortheastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO), (OK), District B & Region 2, 23
Nickname: Golden Norseman
Head Coach: Eric Iverson (21 years)
Overall Record: 51-6
Last 10: 10-0
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): No. 15
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 3

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 1)

One thing is clear about coach Iverson’s squad and that is they can hit. As a team they carry a .403/.480/.629 slash with 68 total home runs. Leading the way at the plate is 2015 NJCAA Marucci Elite Hitters Award winner Rylee Bayless. Bayless is on a terror this season with a crazy slash that reads .616/.696/1.164 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI. She also has 49 walks to just six strikeouts. Note to self, we may want to pitch around her when possible. Shannon Hughes (.487) has been a great source of offense as well knocking in 72 runs with a .805 SLG. This team is very dangerous at the plate and they put the ball in play, meaning opponents better bring their best defense as well.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 9)

Coach Iverson has used three pitchers for the most part in Rachel Haberman (9-3), Rachael Murphy (16-0) and Rylee Willmon (25-3). Willmon has pitched just over half the total innings (173) with a 2.55 ERA and 160 strikeouts. They are not a strikeout team but they make batters work and do not walk many, they had a 2-1 K/BB ratio on the season. They have options and can mix things up and that is always a good thing in big tournaments.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 3)

The Golden Norseman enter the tournament with one of the better fielding teams statistically speaking. They are only one of three teams who commit on average less the one error per game sitting at .88 per game. They carry a .965 fielding percentage and have only committed 50 errors on the season.

Lake LandLake Land Community College (IL), District P & Region 24
Nickname: Lakers
Head Coach: Nic Nelson (5 years)
Overall Record: 51-13
Last 10: 10-0
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): Not Ranked
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 6

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 6)

The Lakers are a bit short on power but do have solid numbers. The enter the tournament with a .367/.433/.530 line. This team can reach base which means they have a lot of chances to move runners and score runs. They have three players hitting above .400 and the same three have an above .500 OBP. They are Tegan Murphy (.453/.518/.716), Jenna Jones (.451/.504/.725) and Samantha Valentine (.450/.511/.545). They also average 7.97 runs per game.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 4)

As we stated they got roughed a little early in the season, but when looking at the season on a whole they have pitched well with a team ERA of 2.05 with 412 strikeouts. Emily Oestreich (26-4) leads the way with a 1.60 ERA and 260 strikeouts over 175.1 innings. The Lakers other primary pitcher is Kooper Vertz who has a 2.66 ERA with 120 strikeouts over 142 innings. The provide coach Nelson with options.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 10)

From a fielding perspective they come in the middle of this group with a .944 fielding percentage and have given up 86 error on the year.
Game Thoughts

The Golden Norseman enter the championship on a 23 game winning streak. This is another team that can hit and score. Their pitching has been better the second half of the season and they are very good defensively. The Lakers are another team that has come on more in the second half of their season and are riding a 12 game win streak. They have some losses to teams they may face here but most came early in the season. Statistically they are a solid team putting up good numbers. Remember the power ranking numbers are strictly based on statistics not head-to-head. The offense of NEO may prove to be too much for Lake Land.


Game 8: No. 15 Spartanburg over No. 2 Salt Lake

Salt LakeSalt Lake Community College (UT), District N & Region 18
Nickname: Bruins
Head Coach: Cyndee Bennett (3 years)
Overall Record: 44-7
Last 10: 7-3
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): No. 5
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 12

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 10)

The Bruins are right in the middle, for the most part, when it comes to offensive production with a .362/.434/.536 line. They are on the lower end of home runs with 45 so far this season. Rae Gall is the teams power hitter with 19 home runs and a .907 SLG to go along with a nice .444 BA. Tina Ford comes into the championship with a .456 BA and a .510 OBP. They have some power and some speed and can hit for average.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 7)

Coach Bennett relies on three pitchers for the most part in Lauren Frailey (16-2), Addie Jensen (11-1) and Kylie Everill (14-0). Having three pitchers is a luxury. Frailey threw the most innings (104.2) with a 1.87 ERA. She is not a strikeout pitcher but she also does not walk many issuing just 27 on the season. Jensen threw 93 innings for the Bruins and posted a 1.88 ERA. Everill would be considered the teams’ strikeout pitcher with 91 over 89.1 innings for 7.13 per game average.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 13)

Fielding may be the biggest area of concern for the Bruins. On the season they committed 83 errors for a 1.63 per game average. Only two teams have a lower fielding percentage than the Bruins .943.

Spartanburg MethodistSpartanburg Methodist (SC), District I & Region 10, 15, 20, 22b
Nickname: Pioneers
Head Coach: Thad Fox (7 years)
Overall Record: 55-9
Last 10: 8-2
National Ranking (Prior to Qualifier): Not Ranked
FPN NCJAA Championship Overall Power Ranking: No. 4

Offense (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 5)

As a team they have showed some power this season belting 76 home runs. They carry a .378/.443/.598 line. The teams top hitter is Maddie Labrador who has a .500 average and a .551 OBP. The teams home run leader is Brooke Palmer (11) who also has 54 RBI. One downside is that they do tend to strikeout as a team and only have .82 walk to strikeout rate. With that said they also have the majority of their starters hitting above .350 on the season. They are averaging 8.52 runs per game which is third among those qualified.

Pitching (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 6)

Coach Fox has used four pitchers on a fairly regular basis and as a team they have posted a 2.11 ERA. Bailey Pearson threw the most innings on the season (129) with 109 strikeouts and a 1.95 ERA. Kayla Price (13-2), Kaylee Freeman (15-3) and Teagan Crosby (10-0) combined for the majority of the rest of the innings. Price posted a team low 1.66 ERA and Freeman has 104 strikeouts. Crosby did not lose a game, only gave up one long ball and had a 1.82 ERA. Fox has no shortage of options when it comes to his pitching staff.

Fielding (FPN NCJAA Championship Power Ranking: No. 5)

The Pioneers played well behind their pitchers with a .953 fielding percentage with an average of 1.16 errors per game. On the season the Pioneers has 74 errors. On paper they seem to be right in the hunt.

Game Thoughts

The Bruins are an interesting team heading into the tournament. One concern is that they suffered four of their seven losses on the season in the last month of play. But they did what was needed to make the tournament which is like a new season all together. They are balanced and that is a good thing. The Pioneers have played well in all three areas of the game, hitting, fielding and pitching. They do have losses and a few wins over others in the tournament, but have statistically performed well this season. A few of those losses came early in the season also. This is our one big upset prediction in the first round.

Round 2

  • Game 15: No. 3 Chiploa over No. 6 McLennan
  • Game 16: No. 7 NE Oklahoma over No. 15 Spartanburg

Round 3

  • Game 22: No. 7 NE Oklahoma over No. 3 Chipola

Final (Winners only)

  • No. 1 Tyler over No. 7 NE Oklahoma
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