Women's Softball Team Has Winning Season;
Falls Short in Tournament


With a regular season record of 33-6, members of the MCCC women's softball team had high hopes for the Region 19 tournament April 25-27. But Head Coach Ryan Zegarski sounded a cautious note. "It's never easy at the end. Whoever is playing best at the time is the winner," he said.

Four worthy opponents faced off - MCCC, Del Tech, Lackawanna and Burlington. Mercer knew it would have its hands full. The Vikings lost to Del Tech by one run in both of their regular season contests and split with Lackawanna and Burlington.

The team proved its mettle on the first day of the double-elimination contest. In game one against Lackawanna, Mailee Paselio hit her twelfth home run of the season as Mercer beat Lackawanna 6-5. In game two against top-seeded Delaware Tech, Paselio also proved crucial as she hit a single in the eighth inning to drive home Jenna Berger and Mercer won 4-3.

The following day, the Vikings needed just one more victory against Del Tech to earn their trip to the 14-team national tournament. Down 4-0, Jenna Berger tied the game in the seventh with an RBI single, taking the game into extra innings. Jackie Laird hit a solo homer at the top of the eighth and the Vikings went ahead 5-4. But Del Tech came back in the bottom of the inning with a grand slam that gave them the win.

Next came the must-win game for both teams, a situation Coach Zegarski had hoped to avoid. Down 3-0, Mercer could not muster the hits it needed, despite a valiant effort that included a solo homer by Jackie Laird. The Vikings lost 6-3.

There was strong emotion all around as the Vikings conceded defeat. Zegarski said, "They never gave up. They dug deep and gave everything they had in the battle for the region."

Although they didn't come away with the title, Zegarski is fully satisfied with the team's accomplishments. "They played good softball all season," he said, noting their commitment to working hard and improving their skills, especially batting.

In addition to standout pitchers Jenna Berger (14-1) and Sara Thomas (19-4), key contributors included sophomore catcher Paselio, outfielder Becky Elliott and Sara Thomas, who were named to the All-Region First Team, and infielders Jessica Maciolek and Jackie Laird, who were named to the All-Region Second Team. Berger, Elliott, Maciolek, Paselio, and Thomas were also named to the All-Garden State Athletic Conference First Team.







Hitting by sophomore catcher Mailee Paselio proved critical in the post-season tournament.
Sophomore Jackie Laird at third base was named to the All-Region Second Team.
Freshman shortstop Jessica Maciolek was named to the All-Region Second Team and All-GSAC First Team.
Freshman pitcher Sara Thomas, pictured, and sophomore Jenna Berger had excellent seasons on the mound.
The Vikings celebrate their team effort.

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