No matter where you play against the ladies of SLCC softball, you’d better bring your war paint and your best fight. The Lady Bruins are a softball powerhouse, and are one of the most respected programs in the nation. SLCC’s women finished the 2010 season with an astonishing 61-5 record, went 44-3 in conference play, and didn’t lose a single home game all season.
Head coach MaryKay Amicone’s Bruin squad recently returned home from the NJCAA National Tournament, a tournament they entered as a number one seed, and ranked number one in the NJCAA. SLCC started nationals off on the right foot in St. George, blanking number 16-seeded Pitt Community College 8-0 on May 20. Lady Bruins catcher Cyd Allen was on fire, with five RBIs. SLCC lit the scoreboard early, in the bottom of the first inning with Stacie Graham and Erika James getting back-to-back singles. The pair advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and Graham was driven home on a sacrifice fly to right field to give SLCC a 1-0 lead early.
The Lady Bruins wouldn’t need any more than one run, but they’d get plenty. SLCC added two runs in the fourth inning, and would get five in the fifth to induce the run-rule victory, completing the shutout. Cyd Allen and Shaynie Phillips each had home runs, and Bruin pitcher Jordyn McDonald allowed only two hits and one walk, with six strikeouts in five innings pitched. The Bruin gals advanced to the quarterfinals to battle number nine seed Seminole State later the same day.
In their quarterfinal contest versus Seminole State, Erika James and Cyd Allen each drove in two runs to help top-seeded SLCC past the Trojans, 5-1. The Lady Bruin pitching duo of Sarah Clark and Reilee O’Brien held SSCC to just six hits in their seven innings of work, and O’Brien struck out five batters. Allen’s two-out, two run single to left center in the third inning was the key play of the ballgame, and the Lady Bruins would tack on two more runs just an inning later when James made good contact on the ball for a two-RBI double that boosted SLCC’s lead to 4-0.
Seminole State finally got on the board in the sixth inning with a solo home run shot off of the bat of Katie Campbell. SLCC shortstop Shaynie Phillips returned fire with a long ball of her own in the bottom of the inning, putting the Trojans away for good and closing out the scoring. The Lady Bruins advanced to the semifinals to take on the defending national champions, the number five seeded Yavapai College Roughriders.
On Friday, May 21, Yavapai slinger Audrey Workman came out with guns blazing against SLCC in their semifinal round game at the Canyons Complex. She blew past Bruin batters pitching a four-hit shutout and ending SLCC’s hopes of competing for the national title. The Roughriders got out to a quick start, as Danielle Muniz made a lead-off walk count by pummeling a two-run shot in the first to put Yavapai ahead, 2-0. They never looked back, adding one more run in the second inning on a Kylie Monin base hit.
SLCC’s high-powered offense couldn’t muster any runs, and was held to just four singles. Lady Bruins starting pitcher Jordyn McDonald pitched a good game, holding the Roughriders to just five hits, and striking out seven in the loss. Yavapai advanced to play number three seed Miami-Dade College for a national championship bid, and the Lady Bruins moved into the consolation bracket to take on the number four seeded Wallace State Lady Lions later that afternoon.
Wallace State drew first blood early, on a two-out solo home run by in-fielder Cortney McNett. The Lions would score two unearned runs to pad the lead, and went on to hand SLCC their second consecutive shutout. The final score was 3-0. SLCC did not score a single run in either of their Friday losses, and were only able to get six runners on base against the Lions. The two losses were the only shutouts that SLCC suffered all season.
Kristen Skinner, the starting pitcher for Wallace State held the Lady Bruins to just three hits, and they were all singles. Skinner had four strikeouts in a complete game outing. SLCC’s Sarah Clark took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits, but had seven strikeouts in about four innings of work.
The loss ended SLCC’s season, and the Lady Bruins finished the year ranked fifth in the NJCAA. Although SLCC’s ladies were unable to bring home a championship, it’s hardly been a season to scoff at.
The Lady Bruins ended the season with a .954 fielding percentage, and allowed only 125 runs in 66 softball games. The entire pitching staff had a combined earned run average (ERA) of only 1.53. Jordyn McDonald had an astonishing 30-1 pitching record, 168 innings pitched and 202 strikeouts on the year.
When broken down, the inning-by-inning numbers are staggering. Over the course of the season, the Lady Bruins outscored their opponents 127-29 in the first inning of ballgames, and 148-26 in the third. Scoring early takes immense pressure off a pitching staff, and the Lady Bruins did it often.
SLCC never lost a game they led after six innings, and when they hit the ball, they were very effective. The Bruins went 60-1 when out-hitting opponents, and when leading after two innings the team didn’t lose a single game. Five Lady Bruins were named NFCA All-Region players. Sophomores Cyd Allen, Jordyn McDonald, Erika James and freshman Katelyn Elliott were first team All-Region, and sophomore Sarah Clark was named second team All-Region.
The SLCC softball coaching staff was honored nationally. Coach Amicone, and assistant coach Kate Nygard were given the National Fast-pitch Coaches Association (NFCA) award for West Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Amicone emphasizes academics as well as softball. Academically, SLCC finished in the top 15 nationally with a 3.45 GPA.