COLLEGE SOFTBALL: DACC sweeps Heartland in Region 24 tournament

May 4—DANVILLE — The Danville Area Community College softball team has been heating up at the right time.

After taking a split from No. 1-rated Parkland College on April 20, the Lady Jaguars had won their last eight games.

On Thursday, the Region 24 tournament started and DACC added two more victories.

The Lady Jaguars beat Heartland College 8-2 and 8-0 in a doubleheader to advance to the Region 24 winners bracket.

Pitching was the star for DACC as Rylee Richey had 12 strikeouts in the first game and Lauren Kehl had four strikeouts in five innings in the second game to pick up wins.

(Heartland) has been a really good hitting team all year and Rylee hadn't pitched her best game against them because she was figuring herself out and playing in the Corn Crib is pretty tough," DACC coach Matt Cervantes said. "Being at home, Rylee feels great here and she was doing what she has been doing all year. She got ahead in using all her pitches and keeping them off-kilter, so she did a great job."

On offense, the Lady Jaguars had many contributors. In the first game, Molly Besser had two hits with a home run and two RBIs, while Kaylee Kline had two RBIs, Pailei Cripe had an RBI and Ali Grenzebach had two hits.

"I think that has been why this team has been good all year," Cervantes said. "We have a good lineup, but we hadn't played that many games compared to the other teams in the regional. But we have scored a lot of runs in the games we have play.

"Rylee has been one of our best hitters and she didn't have a great day producing offensively, but it is great to have a lot of players behind her that can hit and Molly Besser stepped up and hit a home run. She has been hitting balls hard all year and it hasn't went her way. She finally got a hold of one and it was great to see at the nine-hole."

In the second game, Kennedy Hutson had three hits and three RBIs, while Besser and Grenzebach each had an RBI and Richey had two hits.

"Kennedy has been a thorn in the side of so many teams," Cervantes said. "She has been able to grind in the at bats. She is also an absolute menace on the basepaths and it was great to have her play well."

After a slow start to the season, the build to a 33-13 record and 10 straight wins have been a great reward to the hard work the team has put in.

"It is kudos to this team. We started the season 1-3 but no one threw in the towel and they have found ways to win and be competitive," Cervantes said. "We have taken down the No. 1 team in the country and the No. 16 team twice. It is really cool to see because they bought into the process and into themselves.

"When you go up against a team that has been No. 1 for seven weeks and to get one from them shows a lot about what this team can do. They have been doing this all year, but they are trying to find ways to be resilient. The best part is they are going to show up no matter what and be ready to go."

When the Lady Jaguars will show up again will be on May 10 in a championship bracket matchup that will include three teams from Region 24 and a team from Region 16.

NJCAA Region 24 Tournament At Winter Park Game 1 Danville Area Community College 8, Heartland College 2

Heartland 000 200 0 — 2 5 3

DACC 205 010 x — 8 8 2

WP — Rylee Richey. LP — Morgan Malone. Two or more hits — D: Molly Besser, Ali Grenzebach. 2B — H: Raeghan Morefield D: Pailei Cripe. HR — D: Besser. RBIs — H: Sadie Christensen. D: Besser 2, Kaylee Kline 2, Cripe.

Game 2 Danville Area Community College 8, Heartland Community College 0

Heartland 000 000 — 0 6 3

DACC 010 313 — 8 9 0

WP — Lauren Kehl. LP — Kendyl Hurt Two or more hits — H: Concetta DeBord D: Kennedy Hudson 3, Rylee Richey. 2B — D: Hudson, Alyssa Acton. RBIs — D: Hudson 3, Molly Besser, Ali Grenzebach, Gloria Richardson.