The 2016 Salt Lake Community College softball season came to an end in the semifinal round of the NJCAA tournament. The No. 2 seed Bruins lost to defending national champion and No. 3 seed Chipola College 9-7 Saturday in St. George.
The Bruins (48-9) were in a must-win mindset entering the game, having already lost to the Indians (49-14) the previous day. With revenge on their mind, the Bruins came out strong, taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning off of a three-run homer by sophomore Lauryn Goaslind.
Chipola would bounce back in the top of the third when Gabriela Santos hit a two-run double and Madison Ragan drove in another run to tie the game. However, the Indians would have their momentum stopped when SLCC regained the lead in the bottom of the third, scoring a run on a wild pitch.
Salt Lake extended their lead with another three-run homer by sophomore Rae Gall in the bottom of the fourth.
The Bruins held a 7-4 lead as they entered the seventh and final inning. With a place in the championship game on the line, Chipola came out swinging, scoring five runs in all. Liz Osburn hit a three-run double to give the Indians a 9-7 lead.
SLCC had one more opportunity to win or force extra innings. But with two runners on base, freshman Kori Pindel struck out looking for the final out, bringing the 2016 season to an end.
Despite the disappointing finish in the national tournament, the season was full of success — one that some colleges can only dream of. The Bruins won the Region 18 Championship and finished as the No. 3 junior college team in the country.
The coaches and players chose not to comment after the loss, but earlier in the tournament Coach Cyndee Bennett summed up who the Bruins are as a team.
“It’s great to be back, it’s always hard to get here [to nationals],” she said. “We never take it for granted. We have a bunch of competitors on our team, we worked really hard this season, and we pushed them to their limits and beyond.”
The Bruins softball team have made it known to the nation that they have arrived. They’ve had two spectacular seasons in a row, and they know they will be back for more.