By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Columbus, Ohio---The Owens Community College softball team will look to defend its Region XII District I championship beginning tomorrow at Berliner Park.
After capturing first place by sweeping three games last year and making a subsequent appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Tournament, Owens will take its 25-12 record into its winner's bracket semifinal at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Muskegon Community College (38-12) and Ancilla College (19-23) will meet in a winner's bracket quarterfinal at 12 p.m. The winner of that game will then take on Owens immediately after.
Should Owens win again this year, they would make history as back-to-back Region XII tournament championships have never been achieved in the softball program. They would also be doing it in the final season of softball at Owens after the college announced the suspension of the program beginning in 2016-17.
"We're focused on taking it one game at a time, to play our absolute best and go 100 percent on every play," said sophomore shortstop Emily Young. "These next three days, our goal is to make nationals and compete. We have been through so much this year, and we are going to go out with a bang."
The winner's bracket final is scheduled for Thursday at 12 p.m., and the championship series would begin on Friday at 10 a.m. The if necessary game would be at 12 p.m. on Friday.
The winner of the tournament will earn a bid to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament from May 18-21 in Clinton, Miss.
Owens earned its bid to this year's Region XII District I tournament by capturing its third straight Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) championship. They are the No. 2 seed behind Lansing Community College (33-17).
For a full schedule of the tournament, visit here
The Owens softball program has won the Region XII championship three times in its history.
In 2005, the team won 42 of 44 games at one point, took down national power Lansing Community College, and earned a bid to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, where they finished fifth in the nation.
In 2011, the team won a program record 33 straight games to open the season, won the Region XII tournament in thrilling fashion over Kalamazoo Valley Community College and advanced all the way to the national championship game before falling to No. 1 LSU-Eunice and finishing its season higher than any women's sports team in Owens athletics history.
Last year's team went 32-18 overall and won all three games of the Region XII tournament by a combined 33-4 score. They scored at least 10 runs in all three games, which matched the number of double digit scoring games Owens had previously accomplished in postseason history. The team went on to finish 1-2 in the national tournament, including a 22-18 win over Sauk Valley Community College in the elimination bracket.
Owens is 38-29 all-time in postseason play, including a 30-25 mark over 16 appearances in Region XII tournament play.