HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State softball's pursuit of a third national title ended late Thursday night as the Lions were eliminated at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I National Championship by North Central Texas.
North Central Texas scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 7-6 edge and held on for the win at the Canyons Complex in St. George, Utah.
Wallace State closes the season at 39-18 after winning a third consecutive Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 tournament championship, ninth in 11 seasons, and the 11th in program history. The Lions, also making their 11th national tournament appearance, continued their conference dominance under first-year coach A.J. Daugherty and assistant Sallie Beth Burch.
Wallace State, a No. 12 seed, dropped its opener to No. 5 seed Central Arizona, 9-6, on Wednesday night despite having a late lead. The Lions also led 4-0 against North Central Texas.
Sophomore Taylor Beshears was hot in Utah, finishing the two games with six hits, including four home runs. She cranked a pair of solo shots against Central Arizona in Wallace State's tournament opener and finished 4-for-4 against North Central Texas with two more homers and four RBIs.
Beshears, who has signed with Jacksonville State, capped a stellar career with Wallace State. After setting multiple single-season records as a freshman and earning 3rd-team NJCAA All-American status, Beshears was named the ACCC Tournament MVP earlier this month. She finished the season hitting over .440 with a team-high 17 home runs and 45 RBIs and closed her Wallace State career with 30 homers and 129 RBIs.
Amber Hammonds blasted a three-run homer against Central Arizona. The sophomore center fielder finished the season with 15 home runs. She is committed to play next season at UAH.
Tanner Robertson had a pair of singles against Central Arizona and Jodie Farnetti, Taylor Stalnaker and Charlee West each had a single. Brittany Ledbetter added an RBI.
Sophomore Lyndsay Reeves had a double and two RBIs against North Central Texas, while Ledbetter, Hammonds and Robertson each added a single.
Beshears and Hammonds were ACCC 1st-team All-Region selections this season, while Ledbetter, West and Karra Elam were named to the second team.
Wallace State's sophomores ended their careers with two conference championships and 88 wins in two seasons.
The sophomore class consisted of Beshears, Hammonds, Ledbetter, Elam, Reeves, Savannah Bolton, Jesse Butler, Haley Hughes, Bailee Daugherty and Ashton Gaddy.
Wallace State women's golf
Wallace State's women's golf team finished 12th in the nation at the NJCAA Division I Women's National Championship, which wrapped up Thursday at the Chateau Elan Resort in Duluth, Ga.
Freshman Annalee Stephens had the best finish for Wallace State, placing in a tie for 36th overall.
Ashley McCormick, Madison Autwell, Dalys Mullican and Bradi Ruehl rounded out the field for the Lady Lions.
Daytona State College finished as the national champion.
Wallace State made history in April by winning the inaugural ACCC/Region 22 women's tournament. Stephens was the low medalist, and McCormick and Ruehl also made the All-Tournament team.