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Wallace-Hanceville, Phoenix College and Monroe Win NJCAA Titles

 All three National Junior College Athletic Association divisions handed out their National Championships last weekend. Wallac-Hanceville won the Division I Title, Phoenix College won the Division II title and Monroe won the Division III Championship. 

Division I 
On May 17 at the ISF Headquarters in Plant City, Fla., Wallace-Hanceville became the first team from Alabama to win the NJCAA Division I Championship with a 5-2 victory over Santa Fe in the championship game. The Lady Lions won all five of their games at the national tournament and finished the year with a 41-game winning streak that lasted two months. Their last defeat was on March 16. 

The title game saw the Lady Lions open a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning on a two-run triple by left fielder Jena Franks. Santa Fe had the game tied after four innings, but Wallace-Hanceville got what would end up being the game-winning run in the top of the fifth when infielder Rachel Baucom's single scored shortstop Hannah Strength, who had walked. Another run in that inning plus one more in the top of the seventh iced the win. 

Franks finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Coming on in relief of starter Holli Hill, pitcher Jennifer Sexton struck out six and held the Saints hitless in three-and-a-third innings to get the win and was named the Tournament MVP. 

Santa Fe had advanced to the Championship game on the strength of a semifinal victory over San Jacinto College-South (Houston, Texas) early on Saturday morning. The Saints posted four runs before and five runs after a rain delay en route to a 13-2 run-rule victory. 

Division II 
Phoenix College won its fifth straight NJCAA Division II Championship on May 17, in Normal, Ill., defeating Copiah-Lincoln by a 9-1 score in the championship game. 

Phoenix cruised through the tournament, earning a first-round bye and defeating its first opponent, Lansing, by a 4-0 margin on Thursday afternoon. Friday saw Phoenix cruise through both of its games, defating Iowa Lakes 7-6 and Copiah-Lincoln 8-5. 

Copiah-Lincoln would fight back to the championship game, defeating heartland in Saturday’s semifinal before falling to Phoenix by a 9-1 margin. 

In the top of the third inning in the championship game, Phoenix right fielder Jamie Hennis led off the inning with a single, followed by a walk from centerfielder Teddy Barry. Tournament MVP Lacy Goodman then smashed her third home run of the tournament over the left field fence, giving Phoenix a 3-0 lead. 

Taking advantage of Co-Lin errors, Phoenix extended that lead to 8-0 in the fifth inning. After a Hennis single, Barry reached on a two-base error before an Ashley Rosenberg two-RBI double. First baseman Dana Goguen singled to left field, bringinging in another run before pinch hitter Vanessa Walley reached on an error, scoring another run. Designated player Tracy Lubken put an RBI single into centerfielder, with the final run of the inning also scoring on an error. 

Division III 
Head coach Robb DiGiacomo piloted his Monroe Community College squad to a third straight NJCAA Division III Championship on May 17, in Rochester, Minn. 

This year’s title run included a little extra drama as the Tribunes fell to the consolation bracket on the opening day of the Championship Tournament before posting a pair of victories on Friday and winning a trio of games on Saturday to bring home a third straight NJCAA Division III championship. 

Robb DiGiacomo’s squad opened Saturday’s play by defeating Westmoreland CCC by a 4-1 score before routing Brookdale CC by scores of 23-2 and 12-4 to win the title. 

The Tribunes scored eight runs in the second inning to take hold of the lead in the title game. Sam Jones and Most Outstanding Player Kara Wagar each hit two-RBI singles in the inning. MCC added four more runs in the third, highlighted by a two-run single from Liz Dennis. 

That was more offense thatn would be neaded by starting pitcher Jackie Dean, who earned the complete-game victory in the circle. Amanda Page and Stephanie Wagar each finished the game 3-for-5 at the plate. 

MCC’s game against Westmoreland provided the most intrigue ad the teams were tied 1-1 heading to the fourth inning when Jones ripped a solo home run to centerfield for the 2-1 lead. 

Sam Rollins added a two-run triple in the top of the seventh to give the Tribunes some breathing room and Lindsey Grace finished out the win in the circle, striking out 10. 

In the first victory over Brookdale, the Tribunes scored in every inning of the gam. Kira Wagar went 5-for-5 with three doubles a triple and seven RBI. The sophomore drove in three on a first-inning bases loaded triple and two more on a second-inning double before posting RBI doubles in the fifth and sixth.