The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


May 4, 2012

Second-seeded NEO opens regional softball tournament play

OKLAHOMA CITY — Northeastern Oklahoma A&M is among three teams ranked in the nation’s top 20 who are participating in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region II softball tournament, begining today at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex.

In 1 p.m. openers, No. 1 seed Seminole State College (41-11) faces Eastern State (13-33);  No. 4 Connors State (24-26) plays Northern-Tonkawa (24-27); No. 3 Western State (42-11) battles Rose State (22-32) and No. 2 seed NEO (35-12) meets Carl Albert (16-32).

Seminole’s Lady Trojans are ranked seventh in the NJCAA. NEO is ranked No. 9 and the Western Lady Pioneers are ranked 19th.

“When you look at these top three teams, they each won at least 20 games in the region this year so you know what’s you’re going to get,” Lady Norse coach Eric Iverson said. “From that point on, from fourth to eighth, they all had losing records in the region.”

The Lady Norse are expected to start sophomore Shelbie Wagnon against Carl Albert in the first game. As a freshman Wagnon posted an 18-4 record, but injuries limited her to only 76.2 innings thus far and an 8-2 record. She has 80 strikeouts and 45 walks with a 2.75 earned run average.

Freshmen Nicole Workman and Alex Gilley along with sophomore Kylie Cole were the bulwark of the Lady Norse pitching staff. Gilley led the way with 137.1 innings and a 14-6 record with a 2.54 ERA. Workman posted a 1.64 earned run average and an 11-1 record in 77 innings while Cole was 2-2 in 44.1 innings.

Two weeks ago, Iverson made a major adjustment offensively by moving sophomore Megan Sullivan to the leadoff spot and bumping veteran Lindy Fluman to second, Workman third and Candice Monigold to the four spot.

Sullivan leads the Lady Norse with a .446 average, 44 runs scored and 56 RBI. She also leads the team with 23 doubles and 15 home runs.

Second-round games, for both winners and losers, will be played at 5:30 p.m. today.

Loser’s bracket quarterfinal games start at 11 a.m. Saturday followed by the winner’s bracket finals at 1 p.m. The loser’s bracket semifinals start at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Sunday features the loser’s bracket finals at 2 p.m. followed by the championship game at 4 p.m. and the “if necessary” game at 6 p.m.

Winner of the regional advances to the NJCAA Division I Softball National Championship Tournament beginning May 17 at the Canyons Complex in St. George, Utah.

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