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McCook Community College Softball Central Plains Championship series Starts Friday at 3 p.m. in McCook

MCC softball facing perennial power in Butler

McCook Community College Softball Central Plains Championship series Starts Friday at 3 p.m. in McCook

The McCook Community College softball team will face an NJCAA powerhouse when they take on Butler Community College Friday in the opening game of the Central Plains District best-of-three championship series starting at 3 p.m. The winner will advance to the NJCAA Division I College World Series.

Butler has won the Region VI championship for the past six years and has defeated the Region IX champion all six years to advance to the college world series, winning national championships in 2016 and 2017. The Grizzlies have also won 11 straight Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference championships.

Butler put seven players on the all-KJCCC first team including conference MVP Madi Young whose .569 batting average leads the nation as well as her 27 doubles and a conference-leading 44 stolen bases.

The Grizzlies also had all-conference selection at second base, Emily Adler; third baseman Ari Cordova; outfielder Gianna De Luca-Paape (a Trinidad State transfer); designated player Alex Olson; and pitchers Emma Joeneke, (who went 24-1 with a 1.43 ERA), and Allyson Montgomery, who went 21-0.

Butler had four second-team selections in Reese Briggs at first base, outfielders Paige Paxton and Mariah Wheeler and catcher Amber Howe.

This year BCC is ranked sixth in the NJCAA Top 25 and have been ranked in the top 20 for 57 consecutive weeks, finishing No. 2 in 2021.

Butler is ranked fourth in the nation with a .428 team batting average while MCC is 17th at .378. The Grizzlies average 11.4 runs per game and MCC averages 8.36. In the pitching circle Butler has a 1.89 earned run average and Grizzly pitchers have struck out 379 hitters in 271 innings. MCC has a 4.51 ERA and pitchers have fanned 351 hitters in 358 innings.

While the Grizzlies have won their last 21 games, MCC also finished the season with streaks of their own to claim the Region IX championship winning all three tournament games last weekend.

On March 26 MCC went on a 23-2 run to propel them to the school’s first ever Region IX regular season and post-season tournament championships.

Offensively to start the post-season tournament, MCC had a five-run third inning in a 5-1 win in Game 1 win over Northeastern Junior College and a four-run first-inning in Game 2 against Trinidad State 6-4, then utilized the longball to score five runs on three home runs in the fourth and fifth innings Sunday to beat NJC again, this time 6-4.

MCC sophomore pitchers Avery O’Neil (Ellsworth, Wis.) and Anna Wilcox (Victoria, British Columbia) had a combined 1.33 ERA in the tournament with O’Neil starting and winning all three games, allowing four earned runs in 16 innings. Wilcox closed out all three games and saved the final two, allowing no earned runs in five innings and striking out four.

Wilcox is tied for second in the nation with her 44 appearances and O’Neil is fourth with 42.

Four McCook Community College softball players along with their coach Kevin Kaalberg received Region IX Division I post-season softball awards.

O’Neil was named to the All-Region IX team along with sophomores Ashland Baca (Byers, Colo.) and Alexis Cortez (Aurora, Colo.), and freshman Sydney Erlandson, (Woodbury, Minn.). Kaalberg was named coach of the year.

MCC lost its first game of the year at the Jaycees Sports Complex and went 8-3 at home to start the season, then won 16 of 17 home games over the last month of the season including the three tournament games

For all the up-to-date information on MCC softball this season including, schedules, statistics, rosters and photos, please visit the official website of MCC Athletics at:

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