PORT ARTHUR, Texas – Blinn College softball used an explosive offense to defeat the Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals by the score of 9-5 in the first round of the NJCAA Region XIV Softball Tournament on Friday at Martin Field in Port Arthur.
"It was good to see that we were able to stay focused after getting down by two runs and kept having quality at-bats to come back," said Rick Church, Blinn head coach. "We put pressure on our opponent the entire game and were able to score in four out of six innings, so that is always good."
With the win, the Buccaneers improve to 31-16 and will face No. 5 Tyler Junior College on Saturday, May 5, at 3 p.m.
"This was a big win for us and sets the tone for the rest of the tournament," sophomore Amy Alexander said. "Our offense came at them every single inning and our pitchers did a really good job of holding them at the plate."
Blinn didn't lack run support as the offense produced 12 hits for nine runs in the victory. Alivia Villarreal and Alexander led the Buccaneers after knocking in two runs apiece, while Abby Olejniczak was perfect at the plate after going 3-for-3 to score two runs.
"It was nice to see everyone work together because we need base hits and runners in order to score runs like we did today," said Villarreal.
Meghan Morris was impressive in the circle and sealed the win as Blinn's starter after pitching five innings and surrendering just five hits and four runs, while striking out four. Kamryn Boucher was equally impressive, coming in for the final two innings, and only surrendering one run on one hit, while striking out two.
Although Trinity Valley came out strong to score the first two runs in the opening inning, the Buccaneers grabbed the lead in the third inning and never let it go for the remainder of the game.
Blinn scored its first three runs of the game in the third inning for a 3-2 advantage. Sarah Cedillo, who scored two runs in the game, sparked the offense with a double to lead off the inning. After Olejniczak and Sydney Gutierrez loaded the bases, Villarreal drove in Blinn's first two runs with a single to even the score. The Buccaneers took the lead after Tori Alvarez-Lopez hit a single for Villarreal to score.
The Buccaneers added three more runs in the fourth inning to extend their lead to 6-2. Blinn loaded the bases to start off the inning and Gutierrez followed with a walk for Cedillo to score. Alexander drove in the final two runs of the inning with a single for Olejniczak and Morgan Gray to come home.
After three scoreless inning, Trinity Valley scored two runs in the fifth inning to close in on Blinn 6-4.
The Buccaneers answered back with one run in the bottom half of the fifth inning after Georgina Gonzales hit a double in her first plate appearance of the game for Birch to score and Blinn to lead 7-4.
In the sixth inning Blinn took a 9-4 lead after Lauren Coerver scored on a passed ball and Alexander scored on an error for the Buccaneers' final runs of the game.
Trinity Valley scored its final run in the seventh inning before falling to Blinn 9-5.
"We are planning on playing hard and if we continue to play as a team then we will be successful throughout the whole tournament," Alexander said.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 38 NJCAA national championships since 1987.