San Jac softball ready for national tournament in Utah: Tournament play begins Wednesday, San Jac is No. 12 seed
05.17.2016 | By Andrea Vasquez
The San Jacinto College softball team is heading to the 2016 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I National Softball Tournament in St. George, Utah, as the No. 12 seed.
Having clinched the NJCAA Region XIV championship title, the team heads to the national tournament with a 36-23 overall record. This is the third-ever national tournament appearance for San Jacinto College. The last national tournament appearance for San Jac was in 2014, when the team finished fifth in the nation.
“We are preparing to be at our best for the entire tournament and play our game,” said San Jacinto College Softball Head Coach Kelly Saenz. “As coaches, we want to make sure our players have seen every possible type of pitching and defense over the regular season so when we are lucky enough to make it to nationals we are ready for anything.”
Sister pitching-catching duo Gabby and Niki Gonzalez added that having each other out on the field during these critical moments helps keep them focused. “It definitely helps that she’s out there because she knows me so well and keeps me calm,” said Gabby.
“I know my sister always has my back,” said Niki. “We’re both looking forward to performing at our best and representing San Jac.”
Gabby Gonzalez finished the regular season with 6 doubles, 1 triple, and 9 homeruns. Niki finished the regular season with 24 wins, 265 strikeouts and a 1.86 ERA.
Several San Jac players enter the national tournament with all-region, all-conference and all-regional tournament honors. The Gonzalez sisters (Baytown / Ross S. Sterling HS) earned all-Region XIV recognition, with Gabby taking home first-team honors and Niki earning a spot on the second team. Freshman infielders Katlin Kerl (Silsbee / Silsbee HS) and Taylor Office (Seabrook / Clear Falls HS) were also all-Region selections.
First-team all-Conference honors went to the Gonzalez sisters, Kerl, and Office. Second-team all-Conference honors went to freshmen outfielder Shelbi Doherty (Santa Fe / Santa Fe HS) and freshman utility player Alexis DeLeon (Katy / Cinco Ranch HS). Doherty, Kerl, Niki Gonzalez, and freshman infielder Dani Damion (Angleton / Angleton HS) earned a spot on the Region XIV all-tournament team. Kerl received the Most Valuable Player award and Niki Gonzalez receiving the Most Valuable Pitcher award.
The NJCAA National Softball Championship Tournament takes place May 18 – 24 in St. George, Utah. For team updates, visit the City of St. George, Utah’s website.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.