The NJCAA National All-Star team, which is comprised of NJCAA student-athletes from across the country, began play in the Canada Cup this weekend with a 3-1 record. The team began the tournament with a 3-1 pool play victory over the Quebec Rebelles. Regan Mergele of Butler CC (KS) picked up the complete game victory surrendering one earned run on 6 hits. The team was led offensively by Taylor Beshears (Wallace-Hanceville, AL) and Kelly Byrd (Jones County, MS) who each garnered 2 hits and 1 RBI. Game two saw the NJCAA team beating Team Canada Juniors 9-2 in 5 innings. Melanie Murphy (Seminole St., FL) got the win after throwing 3 innings of 2 hit ball while striking out 3. Lexi Kinnaird (Kirkwood, IA) threw the final 2 innings striking out one. Offensively, four players had multiple hits paced by Taylor Nearad's (Kirkwood, IA) 3-3 effort. Nearad scored 1 run and had 1 RBI, finishing just a home run shy of the cycle. Beshears, Byrd, and Jade Lee (Iowa Western) each had 2 hits while Claire Dudek (Des Moines Area CC, IA) reached base 3 times, going 1-for-2 with 2 walks.
Sunday saw the NJCAA All-Star team facing 2 more Canadian opponents in the Calahoo Erins and Team Canada Elite. In game 1 versus the Erins, Rebecca Skains (LSU-Eunice, LA) sparked the offensive attack going 3-3 with 2 HR's and 3 RBI's. Ashley Morris (Chipola, FL) and Byrd each picked up 2 hits while Kelsie Packard (Rock Valley, IL) earned the win giving up 1 ER on 5 hits in 4 innings. Dustie Durham (Phoenix, AZ) threw a strong 2 innings of relief striking out 1. Brynn Minor (Butler, KS) gave up no hits and struck out 1 to close out the victory. The lone loss of the trip came in game 2 on Sunday against Team Canada Elite. A potent pitching attack from Canada Elite stymied the NJCAA hitters who picked up 3 hits on the game with 1 each from Nearad, Morris, and Minor. The pitching for NJCAA All-Stars was solid throughout with Murphy getting the start to take the tough luck loss after giving up 1 run on 5 hits in 3 innings. The former Butler CC pitching tandem of Mergele & Minor threw the final 3 innings of the game combining to give up 1 earned run on 3 hits while striking out 3.
The games at Softball City in Langley, British Columbia, Canada continue this week with an exhibition game on Monday at 1pm (PST) against Team BC U21. The team will resume pool play with a Tuesday game against world #1 ranked Team Japan at 3:30pm (PST) and finishes pool games Wednesday versus the #10-ranked team in the world, Team Mexico. All games can be viewed live via periscope (NJCAA All Stars) or followed on game changer through twitter (@NJCAAallstars).
Faulkner State coach Mallory Radwitch is serving as a coach for Team USA.