Softball clinches Region XIV title, secures second-straight national tournament berth
05.10.2017 | By Amanda Fenwick
NJCAA softball national tournament begins Wednesday, May 17
LUFKIN – The San Jacinto College softball team clinched the Region XIV championship Tuesday afternoon with an 8-2 win over Tyler Junior College at the Roadrunner Complex on the Angelina College campus.
San Jac secured a berth in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I softball tournament with a 1-0 win Monday over Blinn College.
“We are so excited to be headed back to the national tournament,” said Head Coach Kelly Saenz, who is in her 14th season at the helm of the San Jac softball program. “Our players and coaching staff have worked hard all season to get to this point. This is a testament to their dedication to our team and to San Jacinto College.”
San Jac (41-19) entered the Region XIV tournament as the No. 1 seed from the South and co-conference champions for the first time since 1999. San Jac posted three shut-outs in the tournament before defeating Tyler 8-2. Sophomore ace Niki Gonzalez (Baytown / Sterling HS) pitched all 28 innings in the tournament, allowing just two runs, one of them earned. She is now 32-4 with four saves on the year. Her school record 32 wins is the best in the country, and her 1.31 ERA is 11th best. Her 241.0 innings pitched is second nationally, and she has also thrown 248 strikeouts (currently second all-time at San Jac) ranking her second in the NJCAA.
Freshman Taylor McHenry (Deer Park / Deer Park HS) leads the team in hitting with a .408 batting average behind 74 hits, including 12 doubles, four triples and three homeruns. She is also the team’s leader in stolen bases with 18. Sophomore Dani Damien is the team leader in several categories, including doubles (13, tied with Riley Bullen and Mackenzie Kotria), homeruns (8), RBIs (45) and strikeouts (23).
San Jac’s 41 wins so far this season marks the 10th time in school history with at least 40 wins. As a team, San Jac is hitting .387 on the year, and the pitching staff owns a 2.67 ERA.
The NJCAA Division I Softball Championship takes place May 17-20, 2017, at Canyons Complex in St. George, Utah. This is the second-consecutive trip to the national tournament for San Jacinto College, and the fourth in school history.
For information about San Jacinto College athletics visit sanjacsports.com.
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.