SAXONBURG, Pa. – Karns City grad Marra Patton knocked in four runs in Game 1 and Kristen Woolstrum (Cochranton) five in Game 2 as the Butler County Community College softball team swept Pennsylvania Highlands Community College in a best-of-3 series on May 6 to win combined conference and region titles and advance to the national district championship tournament.
The series victory – with wins of 8-0 in five innings and of 13-5 at Laura J. Doerr Memorial Park – gave the Pioneers their seventh Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference championship and third National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Region 20 crown.
The Pioneers (14-4) will play Suffolk County Community College (16-12) in a best-of-3 NJCAA Division III Northeast District championship series this weekend on Long Island, N.Y.
Game 1 of the Northeast District championship is at noon Saturday and Game 2, at 2:30 p.m.
Game 3, if necessary, is scheduled for noon Sunday.
The series winner earns an automatic berth in the NJCAA Division III World Series from May 24-27 in Carrier Park, DeWitt, N.Y.
“This team … has some grit”
The Pioneers’ Amanda Dailey (Moniteau), Taylor Schultz (Moniteau), Marra Patton, Sarah Patton (Karns City) and Woolstrum were selected May 6 to the WPCC all-conference team, and BC3’s Dan Beebe, under whom the program has won 71 percent of its games in his four years, was named WPCC coach of the year for the fourth time.
“They’ve bought into the chemistry,” Beebe said. “To their teammates. To the coaching staff. This team has reached a goal, and it definitely has some grit.”
The WPCC title in softball follows those at BC3 since October in golf, in volleyball, and in men’s and women’s basketball. The Region 20 crown follows those at BC3 since May 2022 in golf, volleyball, and men’s basketball.
Marra Patton was the winning pitcher in Game 1 and Meiah Croyle, in Game 2.
Marra Patton struck out seven and walked one and Croyle fanned six and walked one.
Jenna Serafin took the loss in both games for Pennsylvania Highlands, Johnstown.
BC3 had 14 hits in Game 1 and 12 in Game 2.
“We absolutely crushed the ball”
“We’re all hitting the ball very, very well,” said Marra Patton, who ranks second among players on all 65 Division III programs with a .633 batting. “We’re all seeing the ball very well. And we all came through with our bats, which was really phenomenal.”
“Hitting-wise, we absolutely crushed the ball,” said Dailey, who is sixth with a .594 batting average.
Sarah Patton was 3-for-3 with three doubles in Game 1; Marra Patton was 2-for-3 with a double; Madison Hanan was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI; and Dailey had a triple and two RBI.
Woolstrum was 3-for-3 with a triple in Game 2; Hanan was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI; Dailey was 2-for-3 with an inside-the-park home run, a double and three RBI; and Sarah Patton was 2-for-3 with two RBI.
BC3 lost to Suffolk County in 2017 in what was the NJCAA Division III District H championship. Suffolk County later advanced to the NJCAA Division III national championship game, where it lost to Rock Valley College, Rockford, Ill.
Suffolk County reached the 2023 Northeast District championship by sweeping the Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, in the best-of-3 NJCAA Division III Region 15 championship tournament on May 6.
“They are a good team,” Dailey said. “They’re fast. They do what they need to do. They are definitely going to show us competition and we are ready for that competition. No doubt.”
“I know it is not going to be easy,” Beebe said. “They are a great team, great program, with great coaches. But we are excited. We are looking forward to the opportunity of being in this position and two wins away from the national championship.”
Members of BC3’s 2023 WPCC and Region 20 championship team are Woolstrum, Cochranton High School; Hanan, Leechburg; Shay Tresselt, LBJ, Johnson City, Texas; Schultz and Dailey, Moniteau; Bailey Rickenbrode, Knoch; Bailey Ignosh, Mars; Sarah Patton, Ashley Brenneman and Marra Patton, Karns City; and Croyle and Savanah Downing, Butler.
BC3 did not play in 2020 and 2021 as a result of an NJCAA decision to postpone athletics with regard to COVID-19.