Staff Reports-Pinal Central Casa Grande Dispatch
UTAH — The Central Arizona College Vaqueras advanced to the quarterfinals of the NJCAA National Tournament but were eliminated after two defeats Friday.
CAC (52-11), the No. 5 seed in the tournament, made it to the quarterfinals by beating No. 12 Wallace State-Hanceville (Alabama) 9-6 in the first round Wednesday, and it followed that up with a 2-0 second-round victory over No. 4 Chipola College (Florida) on Thursday.
Kyrstan Garcia (29-6, 3.17 ERA) pitched a gem against Chipola, throwing a complete game shutout and allowing just seven hits while striking out three without a walk. The Vaqueras got all the offense they needed with an RBI single from Garcia in the second, and they added another run in the fourth when Brittany Holland scored on an error.
The quarterfinals brought a matchup against powerhouse Butler Community College (Kansas), the defending national champions.
The game was deadlocked 0-0 in the top of the fourth when No. 1 Butler (57-1) started showing its power, as it leads the nation in home runs. Becca Schulte and Brynn Minor hit back-to-back solo homers in the fourth off Garcia to take a 2-0 lead.
In the very next inning, the Grizzlies went back-to-back again, with solo shots from Alexis Reed and Celina Sullivan. Butler hit five home runs in the game and won 9-0. CAC managed just three hits — a double from Lindsey Smith and two singles from Samantha Soto.
That defeat funneled the Vaqueras into the loser's bracket, where they faced another tough opponent in No. 3 Florida Southwestern (62-6).
The Buccaneers scored three runs in the first and pulled away for a 6-1 win to eliminate CAC from the tournament. The Vaqueras pounded out 10 hits but left seven runners on base.
Garcia allowed five earned runs on 10 hits in four innings. Devin Hally pitched three innings in relief, giving up just one earned run on three hits.
Christian Quinn went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for the Buccaneers, who finished with 13 hits.
The Vaqueras, the Region 1 champions, were in the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time since 2005, when they won their last national championship.