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Cavaliers tie for fifth at NJCAA Softball Nationals

Kyleigh Lay pitched a perfect game against Illinois Central
Kyleigh Lay pitched a perfect game against Illinois Central

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The No. 9-seeded Johnson County Community College softball team finished in a tie for fifth place at the 2019 NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Clinton, Miss. The Lady Cavaliers posted a record of 3-2 in the tournament and closed the season 27-14 overall. 

Johnson County opened tournament play with a 6-3 win over No. 8-seeded Madison College. Sophomore third baseman Alli Heiman and sophomore first baseman Jordyn Clough were the big run producers. Heiman was 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Clough was 2-for-3 with a sacrifice and two RBIs. 

That win advanced the Lady Cavaliers to a match up with No. 1-seed LSU-Eunice. JCCC managed to get six hits, including a double by Clough, but that was their biggest threat of the game. LSU-Eunice scored one in the fourth, three in the sixth and tagged on another in the seventh for a 5-0 win. LSU-Eunice would go on to capture the national title, their sixth in team history. 

Johnson County took on 10th-seeded Illinois Central in their first game in the consolation bracket and freshman pitcher Kyleigh Lay put on a record performance. She hurled the first perfect game in a national tournament in team history. She held the Cougars to no hits, runs, walks and the team did not commit an error. She faced the minimum 15 batters and struck out eight. 

At the plate Johnson County was just as impressive, producing 11 runs on 10 hits. Sophomore catcher Kerry Murphy drove in four runs, and freshman right fielder Emily Fox had three RBIs. 

Lay picked up her second straight win in a 3-1 victory over Itawamba Community College. She allowed one run off four hits and had two strikeouts over four innings of work. Sophomore Hallie Henderson hurled the final three innings, allowing just one base runner with a walk and struck out four batters. 

Sophomore right fielder Kelsy Orender, Fox and Heiman each drove in a run for the Lady Cavaliers. 

Johnson County's run through the tournament came to an end with an 8-6 loss No. 2-seed Des Moines Area Community College. JCCC held a one run lead entering the top of the seventh, but the Bears plated three runs and managed to close out the Lady Cavaliers in the bottom portion of the inning 

Freshman DP Kennedy Thomas drove in three runs for JCCC, and Clough and Fox each had single RBIs. 

For the tournament, Fox hit .538 (7-for-13) with a double and five RBIs. Her .538 average ties the fourth-best recorded in national tournament play by a JCCC player.

Clough and Heiman each hit at .429 clip, both going 6-for-14. Clough had a double, scored twice and drove in three. Heiman had all singles, drove in four runs and scored twice. 

Sophomore Torey Burkhardt tied Fox with seven hits. She hit .438 (7-for-16) with three doubles, two coming in the win over Illinois Central, three runs and an RBI. 

Lay was the Lady Cavaliers top pitcher, finishing with an ERA 0.78 with 10 strikeouts over nine innings pitched. Her ERA in the tournament is the fifth lowest produced by a JCCC pitcher.