The North Central Missouri College started well, but a sub-par performance against #2 seed Jefferson has the Lady Pirates facing a “do-or-die” loser’s bracket game in order to keep its season alive on Saturday morning.
In action from Battle High School in Columbia, Missouri, the #3 seed Lady Pirates, playing in the Region 16 tournament, opened play with a 7-5 victory over #6 seed St. Charles. That result pushed North Central into a second-round game against Jefferson College, and things went south in that contest for the Lady Pirates. Jefferson ripped North Central 13-1, moving JeffCo into the winners bracket final against Maple Woods (12:00 PM Saturday), while bouncing NCMC into the loser’s bracket, and a meeting with Three Rivers Community College. Three Rivers was leading North Central, 1-0 in the top of the 2nd inning, when rain hit Columbia, and postponed action for the rest of the night.
The biggest story of the six-team, double-elimination Region 16 tournament on Friday came from the play of #5 seed Maple Woods. The Lady Monarachs pulled off a mild upset against #4 seed Three Rivers, 2-0 in 12 innings in the opening round, then stunned #1 seed Crowder 5-3 in round #2. That result dropped Crowder into a loser’s bracket contest against St. Charles.
For North Central Missouri College, hopes of a Region 16 championship now require a string of wins over the next 36 hours. The Lady Pirates, if they rally to beat Three Rivers (starting at 8 AM Saturday) would come back and play the St. Charles / Crowder winner in the loser’s bracket final (2 PM Saturday). Win that game, and the Lady Pirates would play immediately thereafter against the Maple Woods / Jefferson loser (4 PM Saturday). A victory there would put NCMC into the championship game (6 PM Saturday), but still needing two victories over the winner’s bracket champion to take the title. If necessary, a second championship game would be played on Sunday at 12 noon.
Before the start of the Region 16 postseason tournament, All-Region 16 selections were announced for the sport of softball, with NCMC having five players named to the team. The Lady Pirates named All-Region 16 are Madi Trump, Courtney Seymour, TeriAnna Mohler, Allison Hilsabeck, and Rachael Balke.