Saints set for action at NJCAA tourney


Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 11:17 p.m.

First up for Santa Fe College at the National Junior College Athletic Association softball tournament is Wallace State Community College, a team with a deep background in the NJCAA playoffs.

The No. 9 seed Saints and No. 8 Lions last met at the 2008 NJCAA Tournament, SFC’s first trip to the national stage. Wallace State defeated SFC in the championship game 5-3 to take home the crown, the school’s lone NJCAA title. The Lions finished third in 2012 and as runners-up in 2009 and 2010.

Game time is set for 6 p.m. EST today in the 16-team, double-elimination tournament in St. George, Utah.

Santa Fe, winners of Region 8A, arrive with a 41-17 record. Karla Claudio, the FCSAA Pitcher of the Year, also leads the Saints attack, hitting .443 with a school record 17 home runs and 54 RBIs. In the circle, Claudio is 21-6 with a 1.07 ERA and 222 strikeouts in 169.2 innings of work.

The Saints were the No .1 seed in 2008 and advanced to the championship game after dropping their first-round game. Santa Fe won 62 games that season, a school record.

Wallace State is 50-11 and qualified by winning the NJCAA Region 22 tournament. The Lions are led by sophomore outfielder Katie Gentle, who is hitting .484 with 14 home runs, 24 doubles and 64 RBIs, and freshman catcher Kori Benson, who has a .366 batting average, 20 home runs and 56 RBIs.

The winner of today’s first-round match will play at 7 p.m. Thursday, while the loser plays at 4:30 p.m. NJCAA TV will provide live audio (opening rounds) and video (semifinals and finals). Audio can be found on www.ihigh.com/njcaatv.

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