Article Courtesy of Phil Hicks, Tyler Morning Telegraph

The TJC Apache Ladies are headed back to the national softball tournament.

Tyler Junior College defeated Blinn College, 6-1, on Tuesday in Lufkin to earn one of Region XIV's bids to the NJCAA Division I Softball Tournament in St. George, Utah.

With their backs against the wall after dropping their opening game in the Region XIV Tournament, the Apache Ladies reeled off four straight wins, culminating in the victory over Blinn to secure one of two national bids the region receives.

After falling to Galveston College, 4-2, on Saturday, TJC scored wins over Kilgore College (13-3) on Sunday, Bossier Parish (2-1) and Angelina (5-4) on Monday and finally over Blinn. A loss in any of those games would have eliminated the Apache Ladies from the tournament.Later in the day, TJC fell to San Jacinto in the regional championship 8-2. Both San Jac (41-19) and TJC (50-17) will represent Region XIV at the tournament, scheduled for May 17-20.

In just the third year in program existence, the Apache Ladies have now gone to nationals in back-to-back seasons.

Against Blinn, Briana Paysinger had four hits and Haille Weber drove in three runs to spark the Apache Ladies' victory.It was an all new team and coaching staff as no players returned from last season and Maria Winn-Ratliff came from Western Nebraska to take over for Nicole Dickson who left to coach at Stephen F. Austin State University. It will be Winn-Ratliff's seventh trip to nationals as a coach.

Kelly Mardones (32-3) was in control in the circle, limiting the Lady Buccaneers to eight hits and one run.

Paysinger had two doubles and two singles, along with an RBI. Weber's hit was double.

Makenzie Goswick and Mckenzie Peet each had two hits with Rebecca Snow, Shelbi Court, Kaycie Moore and Shelby Hotchkiss each contributing singles. Goswick and Court each drove in runs.

Nicole Garcia hit a home run and a single for Blinn, with Shelby Achille adding three singles. Emily Noah had two hits, with Moran Gray adding a single.

TJC is now 3-0 against Blinn as the Lady Buccaneers end their season at 37-17.

Against San Jacinto, the Lady Coyotes scored their second win against TJC this season against one loss.

Nikki Gonzalez (29-4) got the win in the circle while Julia Knight (12-7) was tagged with the loss.

Riley Bullen led the Lady Coyotes with a three-run homer.

Snow led TJC with three hits with Paysinger, Goswick and Makenzie Chatham adding one each. Paysinger and Snow each had RBIs.


Region XIV Softball Tournament Schedule

Saturday, May 6

First Round

Game 1 - Blinn 6, Kilgore 0

Game 2 - Bossier Parish 8, Lamar State-Port Arthur 0

Game 3 - Galveston 4, Tyler 2

Game 4 - San Jacinto 4, Angelina 0

Sunday, May 7

Game 5 - Tyler 13, Kilgore 3, Kilgore eliminated

Game 6 - Angelina 4, Lamar State-Port Arthur 3, Lamar State-PA eliminated

Game 7 - Blinn 9, Galveston 1

Game 8 - San Jacinto 1, Bossier Parish 0

Monday, May 8

Game 9 -Angelina 6, Galveston 5, Angelina eliminated

Game 10 - Tyler 2, Bossier Parish 1, Bossier Parish eliminated

Game 11 - San Jacinto 1, Blinn 0

Game 12 - Tyler 5, Angelina 4, Angelina eliminated

Tuesday, May 9

Game 13 -Tyler 6, Blinn 1, Blinn eliminated

Game 14 - San Jacinto 8, Tyler 2, San Jacinto wins regional title