MDC Ousted At Nationals
The Miami Dade College softball team’s season ended with back-to-back losses in the second round of the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament at Canyons Complex in St. George, Utah, on May 20.
It was the Lady Sharks third national appearance and second in a row. The Lady Sharks came into the tournament as the defending National Champions, but with their offense faltering their repeat bid fell short.
“I think we could have done much better,” said Lady Shark’s captain Veronika Fukunishi. “Our defense was good, but our offense just was not there. It was disappointing for us.”
The Lady Sharks started the tournament with a 7-5 win against Darton College of Georgia. After trailing early on, they mounted a comeback in the fourth inning to cinch the win.
But that was the last win the Lady Shark’s could muster, falling to Tallahassee Community College 4-0 and to Blinn Community College 6-3 in the double elimination tournament. They ended the season with a 35-22 record.
Lady Sharks Head Coach Carlos Caro believes his team played each game close, but the other teams simply played better.
Tallahassee Community College pitcher Emily Smethurst struck out ten to keep the Lady Sharks off balance.
“In the last five years coaching, she has been one of the best pitchers we’ve ever faced; Smethurst had a great control and threw 64-60 mph pitches against us.” Head Coach Carlos Caro said.
Freshman pitcher Allora Miller said she isn’t making excuses, but wonders if the outcome might have been different if play had not been delayed because of a rain delay.
“Our team was ready to go against Tallahassee. We were in our comfort zone, however, due to the rain delay Tallahassee’s pitcher was able to return fully rested, and so it makes you wonder what it might have been,” Miller said. “Still a majority of players are freshmen, so it was nerve wracking.”
The Lady Sharks finished ranked No. 8 overall in the tournament. They repeated as Atlantic District winners and earned the college’s first NJCAA State Championship in softball.
“Of’ course they were disappointed, but we have to be satisfied with our accomplishments,” Caro said. “I thank our MDC administration for their support of our team and next year we’ll be working hard to make another run.”