ST. GEORGE, UTAH – Wallace State softball's pursuit of a second national title in three seasons will be a lengthy journey after the second-seeded Lady Lions lost 2-1 to Wabash Valley (Ill.) College in their National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I national tournament opener at the Canyons Complex on Wednesday night.
Wabash Valley starter Allison Webster kept Wallace State (62-13) off balance throughout the night, striking out 12 and scattering one run on three hits in a complete-game effort.
Wabash Valley led 2-1 after the third inning and Webster made it hold up for the 15th-seeded Warriors.
Wallace State, which is making its ninth national tournament appearance under coach Jayne Clem and seeking a third NJCAA Division I national title, will look to keep its season alive on Thursday as the Lady Lions play Temple (Texas) College at 3:30 p.m. Central in an elimination game.
After leaving the bases loaded in the top of the first, Wabash Valley took an early 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by leadoff hitter Carley Childress. The Warriors added their second run on a leadoff solo homer by Megan Godoyo in the third inning.
Wallace State trimmed the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the third. Andrea McKenzie was hit by Webster to lead off the inning, and she came around to score two batters later after an errant throw eluded Wabash Valley first baseman Makenzie McGregor.
Sam Riley led off the fourth inning with a double for Wallace State, but Webster (23-2) kept Wallace State from tying the game.
Wallace State also stranded a leadoff runner in the sixth.
Riley finished 2 for 3 for Wallace State, while Leisha Yamauchi had a pinch-hit single.
Wallace State sophomore starter Amanda Medders (31-5) was charged with the loss after allowing two runs on six hits in two plus innings.
Rachel Ragland tossed five scoreless innings in relief of Medders, striking out three and yielding six hits.
Childress and Godoyo were each a perfect 4 for 4 for Wabash Valley, collecting eight of the team's 12 hits.
Fellow ACCC member Shelton State fell to Chipola (FL) 7-1 in their opener.
The double-elimination tournament concludes Saturday.