The RCGC softball team held one last team practice on Monday afternoon (see team photo from practice) heading on a trip to Minnesota, where they will meet up with a familiar opponent in the NJCAA Division III National Championships at Rochester Community and Technical College.
The Roadrunners, Region XIX District E champions and the No. 3 overall seed, will play No. 6 seed Brookdale Community College on Thursday afternoon, May 18, starting at 12 noon. The two teams played each other twice in the regular season, including a dramatic continuation of a suspended game during the last week of April. RCGC captured both games, both close affairs, before winning the Region XIX crown to improve their overall record to 22-15.
The Jersey Blues enter the contest with a 37-10-1 overall record.
Coach Steve DePasquale and his players know that this game and all others will be hotly contested as the Runners look to improve on last season’s No. 4 overall finish nationally. DePasquale is especially proud to see how his team battled back from several early season losses to qualify for nationals.
It’s very important,” said DePasquale of his team’s finish. “We were playing well at the end and competing with everybody. Early on we had those tough teams that showed us how we had to battle -- and we did learn how to battle. This will be good. We're here with the top eight teams in the country for a reason."
Coach DePasquale knows his Runners also possess a confident feeling entering the eight-team tournament at McQuillan Softball Complex in Rochester.
“There are a lot of teams there that people feel are the top teams, so we’ll go in relaxed and let our sophomores tell our freshmen what to do and how to do it, and we’ll go out and surprise somebody.”
In any case, sophomores such as catcher Lynnsie Collins, outfielder Gianna Locantore, third baseman Gia Morina and pitcher Amber Krecko are confident and ready for action. And they are complimented by a talented group of newcomers this spring, including pitcher Mackenzie Lafferty, shortstop Angela Antonini and outfielder Jessica Liepe among others.
"The atmoshere is amazing and I’m excited to get a second chance to try and win it all,” said Locantore. “Hopefully we have a better opportunity this year with an experienced team."
The winner of the RCGC vs. Brookdale contest will play the winner of No. 2 Herkimer CC (NY) vs. No. 7 Itasca CC (MN) on Friday at 4 pm. The losers will meet Thursday at 4 p.m.
Visit this page to stay updated on the results of the National Championship Tournament. You can also visit the tournament site by clicking on the link below for all the latest upates: