Softball Team Faces Stiff Competition and
Stiff Wind in Region 19 Triumph
Windsor, N.J. -- They played five games in two days in high winds
and cold temperatures, without even the minimal protection of a dugout
at the County College of Morris softball field. To a woman, they ended
the weekend wind burned, fatigued - and elated.
The Mercer women played some of their best softball of the season,
as they earned the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)
Region 19 title on May 9. For the second time in his six years as
head coach, Ryan Zegarski will take his team to the NJCAA Division
II World Series, to be held this year in Bloomington, IL, from May
Zegarski sums up the weekend's action in one word - "unbelievable."
Despite going into the tournament as the no. 4 seed after Burlington,
Del Tech and Morris, Zegarski was cautiously optimistic about the
Vikings' chances to bring home the title. He noted that the team's
regular season contests were competitive against all three teams -
even no. 1 Burlington. And he had faith in how far his players had
the double elimination tournament, Mercer started off well, beating
Burlington 2-1 on May 8. Later that day the women faced Morris and
lost 3-2. "After we lost the second game, I was concerned,
no doubt," Zegarski said.
19 champs, back row, left to right: Head Coach Ryan Zegarski, Amanda
Myers-Morales,Angela Parascando,Alyssa Becker,Beth Rochon,Heather
Canulli,Kelly Hancarik, Brianna McInnis,Ryan Niatas and Assistant
Coach Freihaut; front row, left to right, Kirsten Edinger,Jenna
Berger,Jessica Maciolek,Kristine Funk and Jenna Comiski.
Jenna Berger was named tournament MVP.
Maciolek at bat
the Vikings had much more softball to play the following day - approximately
nine hours worth, it turned out. First, they beat Burlington for a second
time 8-4, eliminating them from the tournament. Then they faced Morris.
Winning their first game 14-6, they followed it with an 8-5 win to seal
According to Zegarski, it was a total team effort. Numerous players came
through at key moments. Ace pitcher Jenna Berger pitched 27 out of a possible
35 innings and was named the tournament MVP. She was also successful at
bat, hitting 8 for 18 (.444), with 4 doubles, 8 runs scored and 4 RBIs.
Shortstop Jess Maciolek (.375) went 7 for 18 over the weekend, scoring
8 runs and earning 3 RBIs. Second baseman Kirsten Edinger hit .450, collecting
9 RBIs, including 3 in the championship game, and scoring 7 runs. Rightfielder
Angela Parascando went 7 for 17 (.411), with 3 doubles and 6 RBIs, and
centerfielder Alyssa Becker hit 8 for 21 (.380), with 3 doubles, 10 runs
scored and 5 RBIs.
Zegarski also singled out back-up pitcher Beth Rochon, who did a solid
job in her eight innings on the mound, as well as catcher Amanda Myers-Morales.
"Amanda is the consummate team player," he says.
"She took a beating behind the plate, but never complained."
The Vikings end the regular season 31-12.
The women are enjoying a few days' rest - and letting the wind die down
- before resuming practice for their trip to Illinois.
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