Volume 47, Number 16 - June 14, 2010

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Hector Gonzalez
Hector Gonzalez
Sports Writer

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Pitcher Erika Bennet
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Pitcher Erika Bennett, who was named the tournament NJCAA MVP, launches a ball toward home plate. PHOTO COURTESY OF MDC ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT

Sharks softball team returns victorious

By Hector Gonzalez

Sharks softball team defeats Wallace State Community College at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament. Team sets school records for most wins and the fewest losses in a season.

The Miami Dade College softball team was all smiles as they arrived at Miami International Airport.

They had good reason to feel giddy.

The Sharks had just defeated Wallace State Community College (Alabama) at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament. The win earned the Sharks their first NJCAA championship in softball on May 23, at St. George, Utah.

They won all five games they played in at the three- day, 16-team tournament, outscoring the competition 46-11.

“They were the best team on the field,” Head Coach Carlos Caro said. “They competed to the best of their abilities and they won it.”

Pitcher Erika Bennett, who posted a record of 4-0 and a 0.54 ERA while being named the tournament MVP, led the way.

“My pitching was on fire this weekend,” Bennett said.

She finished the season with a record of 26-2.

But Bennett was not the only one to pack a punch for the Sharks. The team finished the tournament with 11 homers. Freshmen infielder/outfielder Kristen Exposito hit three home runs. The Sharks also had 13 stolen bases and made only three errors.

“It was like an explosion with everything that could go right, going right,” Exposito said. “Everyone’s energy went up. Everyone was hitting and awake. This is awesome.”

Caro was named the Karen L. Sykes Outstanding Coach of the 2010 NJCAA Tournament. Freshmen outfielder/catcher Veronika Fukunishi, sophomore infielder Simone Suetsugu, sophomore pitcher/infielder Geovanny Nunez, and catcher Vivian Morimoto were named to the All-Tournament Team.

The Sharks finished the year (51-7), setting school records for most wins and the fewest losses in a season.

Several of the team’s players have been offered scholarships at four-year schools.

Amanda Lara and Bennett both will attend Marshall University, Suetsugu will attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Morimoto has made a verbal commitment to attend Florida Gulf Coast University.

Despite losing key players, Caro believes the team is poised to repeat as national champions next year.

“It has been the result of hard work throughout the year. We got together, planned it together and accomplished it together,” Caro said. “They won it and next year we will try to do it again.” 

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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