The conference rivalry between Galveston College and San Jacinto College-South lived up to its billing as the Whitecaps held off a last-inning rally by the Ravens to win the second game of a doubleheader 8-7 and claim the NJCAA DI Region 14 South Zone crown.
With the doubleheader split, GC finished the regular season with a 37-9 overall record and 17-5 mark in the South Zone Division. San Jac finished 39-17 and 18-6. Both teams will advance to the Region 14 Tournament in Bossier City, Louisiana, beginning May 12.
“It was a nerve-wrecking pair of games, but I’m proud of the team for coming back from the opening game loss and holding off a tough San Jac team in the closer to win first place and secure top seeding in the regional tournament,” said GC Athletic Director and Head Softball Coach, Kelly Raines. “Our players have worked hard all season and it paid off. Winning first place, qualifying to regionals, getting the top-seed and being ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation for most of the season are great accomplishments.”
The rivalry heated up when San Jac took the opening game of the twin bill, 9-6, to temporarily tie No. 16-ranked GC for first place. With the momentum in SJCS’ favor, the Whitecaps had their backs up against the wall going into the second game of the doubleheader and last game of the regular season.
Like they did in the opening game, GC started their half of the first inning with a pair of runs to take an early 2-0 lead. However, the Ravens came right back to knot the game at 2-all in the top of the second.
The Whitecaps reclaimed the lead in the home half of the second with a pair of runs, and added a score in the third to increase the GC advantage, 5-2.
In the fifth, San Jac got two runs back to come within a score of tying the game again. The Whitecaps responded with three of their own scores in the home half to increase their lead, 8-4.
With a four-run lead in the seventh, San Jac took advantage of tired righty freshman Karlie Barba and rallied for three runs to come within a score of tying the game. Barba worked six strong innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits, while striking out three Ravens.
Freshman righthander Abigayle Woodson came on in relief and struck out the side to end the San Jac rally and give the Whitecaps the South Zone title. Woodson was awarded the save, her first this season, and Barba received the win to finish the season with a 13-3 record.
On offense, shortstop Emily Parks went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, center fielder Kamyrn Cottrell went 2-for-2 with a walk, two scores and an RBI, while left fielder Jessica Munro went 2-for-4 with one run. Meanwhile, designated player Gabby Guzman went 1-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. In the two games, Guzman combined to go 4-for-8, with two runs and five RBIs.
In the opening game, despite going up 2-0 in the first inning, GC allowed San Jac to score two or more runs in four consecutive innings to take a commanding 9-3 lead.
The home team battled back with a three-run sixth inning to cut the deficit to three runs, but were shut down in the final frame and fell 9-6.
Right-handed hurler Guzman pitched 4.1 innings, gave up seven runs on nine hits and struck out three. Guzman took the loss to finish the season with a 17-4 mark. Woodson pitched 2.2 innings of relief.
Third baseman Aviana Gonzalez went 2-for-3 and scored a run while Bryley Westfahl went 1-for-1 with two base-on-balls, one score and a pair of RBIs.
In between games, GC and the Whitecaps softball coaching staff recognized the squad’s sophomore players: Kamyrn Cottrell, Jasmine Peña, Hanna Combs, Aviana Gonzalez, Sophie Lawrence, Maria Andrade, Madelyn Flores, Natalia Watkins and Gabby Guzman.
For more information about the Galveston College Whitecaps softball program, rosters and season schedule, visit https://www.gcwhitecaps.com/landing/index.
ABOUT GALVESTON COLLEGE
Galveston College was founded in 1967 and is a comprehensive community college providing the residents of Galveston Island and the surrounding region with academic, workforce development, continuing education and community service programs.