The NJCAA Region VI Division I Softball Tournament is about to begin in Colby this weekend and the Seward County Community College softball team enters the tournament as the defending champion. The Region VI Tournament is a double-elimination tourney that will be played May 5-6 at Colby Community College, who is the host team due to winning the regular season District title. The No. 2 seeded Seward County Lady Saints (34-20) begin tournament play on Friday, May 5 at 12:00 p.m. against No. 3 seed Barton County Community College (11-34).

Seward had success against Barton this year sweeping their conference and district series with a 6-2 and 12-1 win in Liberal and 5-0 and 7-1 victories in Great Bend. Seward County has batted .325 as a team this year but knows they will have to face the Lady Cougars ace, Rosamar Gonzalez, which is never an easy task. SCCC has defeated Gonzalez twice this year, 5-0 and 6-2, but the 2005 Jayhawk West Conference Freshman of the Year brings quite an arsenal of pitches, despite her deceiving 8-16 record this season.

Gonzalez, a Second Team All-Conference selection this year has recorded an amazing 196 strikeouts with a sparkling 2.27 earned run average (ERA) in her 28 appearances (162.2 innings pitched). In her two outings against Seward County, Gonzalez has struck out 16 batters.

The Seward County bats and consistent pitching have carried them to eight consecutive victories to close out the regular season. SCCC leading hitters Amanda McCue (.429 batting average), Kati Jo Gabaldon (.376, 15 home runs, 58 RBI) and Meisha Patterson (.388, 18 stolen bases, 23 RBI) have paced Seward’s late season run at the plate. On the pitching rubber, Becky Holland (16-9, 2.42 ERA, 79 strikeouts) and Sarah Wittwer (15-6, 2.72 ERA, 47 strikeouts) have shown no signs of late season fatigue while leading the Lady Saints pitchers.

Barton County’s leading hitters are Jenna Wondra (.274), Natosha Stewart (.248, eight doubles, 14 RBI) and Lanna Wondra (six doubles, 14 RBI).

Other high-profile players who will be competing in the Region VI Tournament this weekend are Colby’s ace pitcher and Jayhawk West Conference M.V.P., Amanda Bell (25-11, 1.78 ERA, 190 strikeouts), Colby’s First Team All-Conference shortstop, Heather Ebert (.417, eight home runs, 18 stolen bases, 50 RBI), Garden City’s Second Team All-Conference outfielder, Kim Lyons (.420, three doubles, 12 RBI, five stolen bases) and Cloud County’s First Team All-Conference third baseman, Shala Sicard (.414, eight doubles, six triples, three home runs, 18 RBI)

Region VI Division I Leaders (regular season stats)
(HITTING)

Batting Average: Home Runs
1. Amanda McCue .429 Seward County 1. Kati Jo Gabaldon 15 Seward County
2. Kim Lyons .420 Garden City 2. Heather Ebert 8 Colby
3. Heather Ebert .417 Colby 2. Kelsey Trout 8 Seward County
4. Shala Sicard .414 Cloud County 3. Allison Bellar 6 Seward County
5. Mandy Rutledge .381 Garden City 3. Gennifer Brown 6 Garden City

Runs Batted In (RBI) Stolen Bases
1. Kati Jo Gabaldon 58 Seward County 1. Lindsey Marsh 22 Colby
2. Heather Ebert 50 Colby 2. Heather Ebert 18 Colby
3. Kelsey Trout 36 Seward County 2. Meisha Patterson 18 Seward County
4. Allison Bellar 33 Seward County 3. Stephanie Jaime 11 Seward County
5. Sarah Venegas 32 Seward County 4. Amanda McCue 8 Seward County

(PITCHING)
Wins Earned Run Average (ERA)
1. Amanda Bell 25 Colby 1. Amanda Bell 1.78 Colby
2. Becky Holland 16 Seward County 2. Rosamar Gonzalez 2.27 Barton County
3. Sarah Wittwer 15 Seward County 3. Becky Holland 2.42 Seward County
4. Mandy Rutledge 10 Garden City 4. Sarah Wittwer 2.72 Seward County
5. Rosamar Gonzalez 8 Barton County 5. Mandy Rutledge 3.20 Garden City

Strikeouts Innings Pitched
1. Rosamar Gonzalez 196 Barton County 1. Amanda Bell 216 Colby
2. Amanda Bell 190 Colby 2. Rosamar Gonzalez 162 Barton County
3. Jamie Peat 90 Cloud County 3. Becky Holland 159 Seward County
4. Becky Holland 79 Seward County 4. Jamie Peat 153 Cloud County
5. Sarah Wittwer 47 Seward County 5. Sarah Wittwer 123 Seward County