Softball season wraps up with NJCAA national tournament appearance

06.06.2017 | By Madelon Zimmermann

HOUSTON, Texas – The 2017 season moved the San Jacinto College softball team one step closer to a national title, as it ended the season 2-2 at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Softball National Championship and as the 2017 NJCAA Region XIV champions.

San Jac finished the season with a 42-21 record, earning an automatic bid to the NJCAA national championship tournament. San Jac’s 42 wins this season mark the 10th time in school history with at least 40 wins. The softball team went into the regional tournament as the No. 1 seed from the South and into the national tournament as the No. 7 seed.

This was the team’s second straight and fourth overall trip to the national championship. San Jac defeated 10th seed Chattanooga State 5-4 to open its national tournament run. San Jac then fell 5-2 to Salt Lake Community College, before rebounding with a 3-2 win over Tyler Junior College on Thursday. In their final game against Florida Southwestern, they needed eight innings to decide the game, but Florida Southwestern walked away with the victory 9-1.

Sophomore ace Niki Gonzalez (Baytown/ Sterling HS), who was awarded conference and region pitcher of the year, pitched all four games and had 22 strikeouts. While Katlin Kerl (Silsbee/ Silsbee HS) caught all four games of the tournament and led the team in hitting with a .500 batting average. After 10 at bats, she was behind 5 hits, including 1 RBI and 1 scored run.

Earlier this year San Jacinto College Softball Head Coach Kelly Saenz celebrated her 500th career win. Saenz just completed her 14th year at the helm of the San Jac softball program. Since she was named head coach in 2004, her teams have won 61 percent of their games and made four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament appearances.

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, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College call 281-998-6150, visit sanjac.edu or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.