Illinois Central Softball Heading to Nationals
By Cole Louderman, ICC Harbinger
The Illinois Central College softball team is heading to Clinton, Mississippi to play in the NJCAA Division II nationals.
The Cougars won the Region 24 tournament, which was held at the EastSide Center in East Peoria, IL, from May 5th to May 7th.
ICC first played Heartland College on Friday, May 5th at 2:00 pm, and ended up winning the game with a final score of 10-2.
The Cougars then went on to face #1 ranked Parkland at 5:00 pm on Friday, May 5th. ICC upset the top ranked team in the region with a final score of 5-2.
Illinois Central now had to face Danville Area in the semifinals on Saturday May 6th. The Cougars won the matchup 12-4, and advanced to the championship game on Sunday, where they again would have to face Danville Area for the championship.
The Cougars squared up against Danville Area in a highly anticipated championship game for the Region 24 tournament title and a trip to nationals.
After ICC gave up two runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at five, the Cougars came together in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the game in walk-off fashion as freshman Abrianna Hale hit a single to center field to score Abby Jacques, the winning run.
The Cougars won the game 6-5, and won the Region 24 title. ICC has now qualified for the NJCAA Division II nationals for the sixth consecutive year.
Sophomore P/1B Cassie Shaw, from Moline IL, allowed six hits, had six strikeouts, and gave up six walks in the title game against Danville Area. Shaw also went 2 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs.
“It felt really good winning the region tournament. We wanted to keep the tradition alive and we really stepped it up this past weekend,” says Shaw on the perspective of the championship win.
“I’m very excited for nationals. It’s a great environment to be around and its great competition. Also, being able to hang out with our host family, the Huber’s, is a fun time because they all bring so much joy whenever they are around us.”
Shaw pitched in each of the four games in the region tournament, and had two homeruns, going 11-16 from the plate in the tournament.
The Cougars’ first game will be played on Wednesday, May 17th in Clinton, Mississippi.