Pioneers Advance to Round Two

Pitcher Tara Cates tossing at Motlow State Community College.
Pitcher Tara Cates tossing at Motlow State Community College.

By: Nick Kieser

COLUMBIA, TENNESSEE — The Volunteer State Community College Lady Pioneers softball program has defeated Columbia State Community College 9-6 in round one of the NJCAA Region Seven Postseason Tournament. The Chargers are the sixth-seeded team and tournament host, however, the Pioneers had the momentum to start the game.

Playing the Chargers back in the regular season the Pioneers won five in a row, including a game in Columbia the same week. The Pioneers outscored the Chargers 34-15 in the five-game stretch from March 10-12.

Tara Cates started for the twelfth time yesterday (May 5) and totaled seven innings pitched and eight strikeouts. The eight strikeouts were the second highest total of the season for her, while the most strikeouts Cates tossed was at Jackson State (April 5) for a grand total of 12.

Totaling 14 hits as a team the Pioneers were able to rally the runs early in the first inning as Alex McFarlin hit an RBI single scoring Ciera Purvis and Emilee Hanlon to go up 2-0. Columbia State answered back with four unanswered runs to go up 4-2 off of a two-run home run.

"I think that we played well as a team and need to keep it up the rest of the tournament because this tournament needs to be ours. Tara just did what she knows and she has executed well for us," said Kennedy Acklin who came up big hitting two home runs in game one.

Acklin homered in the fourth inning to score Emma Byford and tie the game. Her second home run came in the last frame of offense in the sixth inning to wrap up the game with nine runs toal that scored for the Pioneers.

McFarlin and Acklin each had three RBIs apiece and five hits combined to lead the way for their team. Winning this game the Pioneers will have a day off and play the winner of Cleveland State or Walters State on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.

"We get to rest a little bit now and then come back even stronger as a team. We are at our peak and we're going to keep going," said Acklin.

Follow @VSCCPioneersSB for a live feed of the game and in-game tweets for all the news and analysis surrounding the softball program.