No. 10-seeded DMACC will take on No. 7 seed Rock Valley College in opening round on May 23
The DMACC softball team will face Rock Valley College (RVC) in the opening round of the 2023 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Softball World Series at 5 p.m. CT on Tues., May 23, at Tyger River Park in Spartanburg, S.C.
How to watch: The NJCAA will offer a pay-to-watch livestream of the game online here. Purchase options include $10 for a livestream day pass or $25 for a pass to watch all NJCAA Division II Softball World Series games. Live game stats will be available online at no cost.
The World Series runs May 23-27 in Spartanburg (more info).
“Rock Valley has a really good team," said Bob Ligouri, DMACC Softball coach. “They played in a tough conference and region. Anytime you come out of an Illinois region, you're going to be good. I have great respect for them."
DMACC, making its ninth consecutive appearance in the tournament, is 49-10 overall and is ranked 17th in the most recent Division II poll from the NJCAA. RVC is 44-10 and is ranked 10th. DMACC is the No. 10 seed and RVC is seeded seventh.
The two teams faced three common opponents during the regular season: Spoon River Community College (SRCC), Triton College (TC) and Kirkwood Community College (KCC), the latter of which is also a member of the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) with DMACC. DMACC defeated SRCC in their only meeting of the season, went 2-0 against TC and 2-2 against KCC. RVC lost to SRCC in their only meeting of the season, was 2-0 versus TC and 1-1 against KCC.
DMACC enters the tournament with a .385 team batting average, led by freshman Madisyn Kelley at .487, sophomore Maddy Kearns of Glenpool, Okla., at .468 and freshman Amaya Snyder of Cedar Rapids at .446. Kelley will be unavailable for the tournament because of recent ankle surgery and freshman Hannah Ironside of Swisher will not play because of an injury suffered about a month before the end of the regular season.
The Bears also have three other players hitting above .400 in freshman Kelsey Palmer of Cedar Rapids (.424), sophomore Sydney Kennedy of Peosta (.420) and sophomore Kendal Clark of Humboldt (.403). Clark leads the Bears in home runs with 19 and Snyder tops the team in runs batted in with 70. Kearns has driven in 68 runs and Clark has 58 RBIs.
DMACC's top three pitchers during the regular season were Kennedy, freshman Courtney Donahue of Marshfield, Wis., and freshman Kinsley Robertson of Tiffin.
Kennedy is 22-4 with a 2.13 earned run average and 223 strikeouts in 138 and a third innings. She is averaging 11.28 strikeouts per seven innings. Donahue is 16-1 with a 2.36 ERA and 126 strikeouts over 98 innings. She is averaging nine strikeouts per seven innings. Robertson has a 9-4 record and a 2.64 ERA. She is averaging 5.8 strikeouts per seven innings.
Ligouri said several players have stepped up in the absence of Kelley and Ironside.
“I'm really, really proud of the efforts everybody has made, and I have a good feeling about us," Ligouri said. “Everybody tries to be a little bit better when you get to the World Series and that really isn't the case. That isn't what got you here. You just hope that everyone stays within themselves, plays it one pitch at a time, stays calm and just has fun."
RVC, out of Rockford, Ill., is led by Katie Hayes, who is batting .450, and Molly Kable at 420. Hayes leads the Golden Eagles in RBIs with 78 and Bella Crimaldi is the home run leader with eight.
Madison Carlson is RVC's top pitcher at 25-3 and a 1.89 ERA. She has 137 strikeouts over 144 innings and is averaging 6.03 strikeouts per seven innings. Hannah Martin is 10-5 with a 2.76 ERA and Alison Hassett is 8-2 with a 3.59 ERA. Martin is averaging 6.51 strikeouts per seven innings and Hassett is averaging 6.12 strikeouts per seven innings.
“I think it will a really even matchup," Ligouri said. “It's going to be about which team relaxes the quickest and uses their ability. The teams that go home the quickest are the teams that put too much pressure on themselves."
The DMACC-RVC winner will play winner of the Louisburg College (LC)-South Suburban College (SSC) game and the DMACC-RVC loser will play the LC-SSC loser.
“We have never had a player that's played at DMACC since we started the program that hasn't had a chance to play in the World Series," Ligouri said. “I think that's an experience they'll remember the rest of their softball careers and they'll also probably remember it a long time into their lives."
The double-elimination tournament continues through May 27 when the championship game will be played.
For more information, contact: Bob Ligouri, (515) 371-4846, email@example.com