5/8/2011 1:18:00 AM Yavapai College softball team takes region crown
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Members of the Yavapai College team celebrate after beating Pima Community College in an NJCAA Region I, Division I playoff game. YC topped Pima again later in the day to win the double-elimination tourney.
PRESCOTT - Faced with the challenge of winning three games in a row, the top-ranked Yavapai College softball team came together as a team on Friday night, looking for a little extra motivation.
"(The girls) watched Four Days in October, where the Red Sox came back from 0-3 against the Yankees in 2004," said YC coach Stacy Iveson, whose team defeated Arizona Western College in a consolation bracket game, then Pima Community College in back-to-back games to win the NJCAA Region I Tournament on Saturday at Bill Vallely Field.
"I think that fired them up and gave them the motivation that they could do this."
The Roughriders (62-4 overall, 49-2 ACCAC) let the pressure of the region tournament get to them, dropping their opener to Arizona Western College, 6-1, on Friday, but responded with toughness and a never-give-up attitude.
YC rolled past Arizona Western, 19-0, in its first contest of the day on Saturday, then defeated Pima 3-2 and 13-2 to win the title.
"The girls were waiting for that third out and as soon as it happened, they just mobbed Estela (Pinon)," Iveson said. "They just dog-piled her."
The win gave Yavapai College its fourth-straight region title.
Pima, which came within one inning of defeating YC in its first meeting of the day, gave the Roughriders all they could handle.
"They are a really good team," Iveson said. "We just found a way to keep them off balance."
Yavapai College ran away with the championship game thanks to outstanding performances from Estela Pinon, Alex Landon and Amelia Willadsen.
"Amelia did a great job," said Iveson about Willadsen, who pitched in both games against Pima. "She was ready and I knew she could pitch the second game if we needed her to."
Willadsen gave up two runs in three innings in the team's nine-run victory.
Pinon relieved Willadsen in the fourth inning, holding the Aztecs to no runs in four innings.
"Our catcher Kirsten Lambertson did a really good job," Iveson said. "She kept her focus and kept (Estela) in the game. She's kind of like my coach on the field. I was really proud of her."
Landon led the Roughriders from the plate throughout the tournament and consistently came up big with runners on base.
"She was amazing," Iveson said. "She has just been on a tare... She's just having really, really confident at bats, and wanted to be the one in the box with runners in scoring position."
The Roughriders scored three runs in the first inning and four in the second, jumping out to an early 7-2 lead.
YC didn't look back from there, as Pinon blasted a 2-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, while Landon tacked on another run, hitting a RBI single to right field in the fifth, which put the Roughriders up 10-3.
Ashleigh Seipl helped score the final two runs for the Roughriders, hitting a 2-RBI double at the end of the fifth to make it 12-3.
Yavapai College will continue its national championship run in the NJCAA World Series, which is set to start on May 19, at the Canyon's Complex in St. George Utah.
"The girls are just ecstatic," Iveson said.
The Roughriders finished third in the NJCAA World Series last season and won the national championship in 2009.