Oxford, Ala. – Trailing all game, Phoenix College saved its best for two outs in the seventh. Three runs with two outs in the top of seventh lifted the Bears to a 3-2 comeback win over Jones College as they hoisted the 2021 NJCAA DII Championship trophy on Saturday afternoon at Choccolocco Park.
It marked the ninth NJCAA II national title, first since 2012, for Phoenix and soon-to-be inducted NFCA Hall of Famer Heinz Mueller. Going undefeated at the tournament, the Bears won their final 42 contests of the season and finished 44-1.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh, Caroline Chilton singled down the leftfield line to drive in two and knot the game at 2-2. Jocellyn LaFlesch stepped to the plate and roped an RBI single to left, plating Ali Ashner with the winning run.
Brianna Hardy (32-0), who was lights out all season, picked up her fifth complete-game win of the tournament. She allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with eight strikeouts and four walks.
LaFlesch, Ashner and Karyn Moctezuma recorded two hits apiece for the Bears.
Nia Luckett (17-6) suffered the defeat in 6.1 innings of work. She allowed three runs on eight hits with four punchouts and one free pass. Tyesha Cole and Lauren Lindsey each registered two hits for Jones College.
Lindsay put the Bobcats on the board early with an RBI double in the first. The Bobcats doubled their advantage when Sydney Pevey scooted home on a passed ball in the fifth.
On its way to the title game, Phoenix outscored the opposition, 20-3, posting three shutouts and recording 45 hits.
In the circle, Hardy dominated her opposition and finished the five-game stretch 5-0 with a 0.42 ERA and three shutouts. She struck out 47 and scattered 19 hits over 33 innings.
Jones returned to its fifth championship game in the last seven seasons courtesy of a 15-2 win over Louisburg College after it was edged by Phoenix College, 1-0 in the winner’s bracket. Following a four-hour weather delay, the Bobcats’ offense came alive, scoring 15 runs on 14 hits and put the game out of reach with a nine-run fifth.