The Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) softball team advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Softball Championship semifinals following a 9-1 quarterfinal win over Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) May 17 at Clinton, Miss.
The Bears, undefeated at 46-0 and the No. 1 seed in the tournament, will face fourth-seeded Phoenix Community College (PCC) at noon today. PCC used a three-run rally in the top of the sixth to defeat fifth-seeded Kirkwood Community College (KCC) in another quarterfinal matchup on May 17.
Sophomore Molly Jacobsen of Adel pitched a two-hitter and helped her own cause with a two-run home run in DMACC’s win over LLCC. The game was called because of the mercy rule after the Bears scored a run in the bottom of the fifth.
Jacobsen, who improved to 25-0, surrendered her first earned run of the postseason when LLCC’s Katie McLean homered in the top of the third. The home run ended a 27-inning scoreless streak for Jacobsen in the postseason. She struck out 11 and threw 59 pitches, including 50 strikes.
DMACC took a 1-0 lead in the second. Freshman Morgan Nealey of Urbandale opened the inning with a base on balls and moved to second on Jacobsen’s single. Freshman Tara Lance of Solon then ran for Nealey and moved to third when freshman Avery Guy of Cedar Rapids drew a base on balls. Sophomore Taylor Briley of Creston followed with a base hit, scoring Lance.
After LLCC tied the game on McLean’s home run, the Bears responded with four runs in the bottom the inning, three in the bottom of the fourth and one in the bottom of the fifth. Nealey drew a two-out walk in the third and scored on Jacobsen’s home run. Freshman Kaisha Wells of Topeka, Kan., followed with a base hit and scored on a home run by Guy.
Freshman Mia Ruther of Burlington began DMACC’s fourth-inning rally with a base hit and came around to score when sophomore Bailey Richards reached on a fielder’s choice and subsequent error. Freshman Hunter Raymond of Madrid pinch-ran for Richards and scored on a home run by Nealey.
Sophomore Gabby Schnathorst of Carlisle began DMACC’s rally in the fifth with a one-out single and gave way to Briley, who entered the game as a pinch-runner. One out later Briley reached third on an error and eventually scored on a base hit by sophomore Bre Hunter of Boone.
Jacobsen had three hits in the win and Ruther came away with two. Jacobsen, Nealey and Guy drove in two runs apiece.
The DMACC softball team, making its fifth consecutive appearance in the national tournament and its sixth in the past seven seasons, is seeking its highest finish since 2014 when the Bears finished third. The 2015 team garnered a fourth-place finish.