LCC softballers advances to nationals on walk-off homer by freshman Piron
By Aaron Emerson
For The Lookout
For the first time since 2008, the LCC softball team is headed to the NJCAA Division II Championship, thanks to a storybook ending in the district title game.
After starting the NJCAA District I Softball Tournament with wins over Kellogg Community College and Muskegon Community College (40-14), the Stars faced off with Kellogg (34-13) again in the championship on May 13.
Only needing to win one out of two in the double-elimination tournament, the Stars dropped the first game to Kellogg 4-3.
In the win-or-go-home game two, the score was tied 9-9 going into the bottom of the seventh.
With a runner on base and two outs, Chazney Balmer singled to keep the Stars hopes of winning it in regulation alive.
That put the game in the hands of freshman Rebecca Piron, who hit a walk-off, three run home run to give LCC a 12-9 win. The victory sends LCC to the National Championship Tournament.
“It’s quite an honor to make it to the nationals,” Stars Head Coach Marc Kibby said. “The hard work the team and coaches have put in; and to see it pay off.”
It’s been a remarkable run for the Stars (39-17) after starting the season 1-9. They went on to win 20 straight games in March and April, and won the Michigan Community College Athletic Association’s West Division with a 24-4 conference mark.
Kibby said several factors played into the team turning it around.
“The team improved as the season went along, both as a team and as individuals,” Kibby said. “(A key was) the leadership of the sophomores understanding our system and helping to bring the freshman up to speed.”
The Stars were scheduled to open up the NJCAA Division II tournament on Wednesday, May 18 against Highland Community College (KS) in Clinton, Miss. LCC is the 10th seed in the 16-team, double-elimination tournament.
For a bracket and schedule of the tournament, visit http://www.bracketmaker.com/tmenu.cfm?tid=462471/