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Softball Team Enjoys Victory before
Being Eliminated at World Series


West Windsor, N.J. - The MCCC softball team knows what it feels like to compete - and win a game - on the national level. According to Head Coach Ryan Zegarski, his team fought hard in every inning of their three games at the NJCAA Div. II World Series, held May 20-23 in Normal, Ill.

"We were competitive in every game," he said. "We showed we belonged there."

Rain played an intrusive role in the tournament. No sooner had the Vikings begun their first game against the no. 3-seed, Muskegon CC (MI), on May 20 when play was halted due to weather, with the Vikings trailing 4-0 after one inning. When they resumed play May 21, both teams scored a run. "Essentially, we held them to a 1-1 tie for six innings," Zegarski said. Muskegon was the tournament's eventual winner.

Mercer still had two more games to play that day. In their next game, the Vikings edged 11-seed Highland CC (KS) 8-7. Freshman Kirsten Edinger had a 3-run homer to give Mercer the lead. Another freshman, Jenn Comiski, had two hits, as did Brianna McInnis.

In their third game, the Vikings were eliminated with a 9-4 loss to the 4-seed, Johnson CC (KS). Mercer took an early 4-3 lead, but saw it evaporate in the 7th inning as Johnson, with two outs, scored six runs. "We just couldn't hold them," Zegarski said. Johnson's defense kept the Vikings from scoring in their final at bat.

Zegarski credits numerous players with significant contributions, especially in hitting. "We didn't hit consistently during the season, but we did during the Region 19 tournament and we did at the nationals," he said. "I am very proud of this team." Pitcher Jenna Berger was key on the mound, earning MVP status at the regional tournament, and Jess Maciolek was a defensive powerhouse at shortstop.

The Vikings ended their stellar season with a 32-14 record. Their trip to the World Series marks the second time in six years that Zegarski has taken his team to nationals. He was assisted this season by Chris Freihaut. Both coaches are MCCC alumni who played Vikings baseball.

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