Miles Community College repeats as Region XIII softball champs

Pioneer men win Mon-Dak baseball title
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Posted at 9:26 AM, May 10, 2022

(Editor's note: MCC Athletics release)

MILES CITY - Two full seasons of softball. Two Region XIII Championships. The MCC Pioneer softball team won the Region XIII Championship Monday with a gutty comeback effort to take the title.

The Pioneers defeated Bay College 18-12 on Sunday and then Dawson 14-2. Dawson defeated Bay College Monday morning setting up the championship final. Dawson would need to beat the Pioneers twice and the Pioneers needed just one win for the championship.

The Pioneers will now face Kirwood College out of Iowa for a trip to the NJCAA DII Softball World Series. The teams will play a best 2-3 series at MidRivers Field in Miles City starting on Saturday. Games will start at 1 p.m. An if-necessary 3rd game would take place on Sunday.

Game 1 - Pioneers 1... Dawson 9

The Dawson CC Bucs forced a deciding championship game on Monday afternoon after defeating the MCC Pioneers 9-1. Dawson jumped up on the Pioneers early with a run in the first and 5 in the 2nd to take a 6-0 lead. MCC notched their only run of the game in the 2nd inning as the team had 10 hits but couldn't get anyone else to cross home plate.

The only Pioneer run came after SS Sierra John (Idaho Falls, ID) doubled and was driven in on a C HaiLeigh Davis (Shepherd, MT) single. LF Liz Ybarra (Belgrade, MT) had a 3-4 effort at the plate (2B) and 2B Abby Johnson (Hamilton, MT) was 2-3.

Hazel Eaton (Belgrade, MT) pitched a complete game 7 innings allowing 9 runs on 11 hits. She walked one and also struck out one.

Game 2 - Pioneers 9... Dawson 6 (8 Innings)

Things were looking bleak for the Pioneer Softball team. MCC trailed 3-0 going to the 5th inning but managed to pick up 3 runs to tie the game. The Pioneers then pushed thru 3 more in the top of the 6th to take a 6-3 lead. Dawson immediately answered with 3 of their own in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game at 6.

This game was worthy of a championship game as it went to extra innings and the Pioneers won their 2nd Region XIII Championship in as many years with a 9-6 win.

Dawson scored a run in the 1st inning and 2 more in the 2nd to take a 3-0 lead. The Pioneers managed only 2 hits in the first 4 innings. Then in the 5th inning RF Mars Weaver (Rexburg, ID) got things started with a single to centerfield. Sierra John was then hit by a pitch that pushed Weaver to 2nd. Alexa Lewis (Bozeman, MT) came in to run for Weaver. HaiLeigh Davis then lined in to a fielder's choice forcing Lewis out at 3rd. Abby Johnson came up big with a 3-run blast to leftfield tying the game at 3-3.

In the top of the 6th inning, DP Megan Toplovich (Great Falls, MT) singled and 1B Lilinoe Nihi (Moanalua, HI) belted a 2-run homer to make the score 5-3. Weaver then singled as did pinch hitter Morgan Lampshire (Murray, UT). Sierra John then hit a double to leftcenter field scoring Weaver for a 6-3 advantage heading to the bottom of the 6th.

Dawson quickly answered with 3 of their own to tie the game 6-6 after 6 innings. Neither team could score in the 7th inning setting up the championship extra frame. Mars Weaver drew a walk and Megan Johnson (Preston, ID) singled to center. Sierra John then grounded in to a fielders choice but the runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. With 2 outs, Abby Johnson hit a clutch double that scored Johnson for a 7-6 lead. Liz Ybarra followed that up with a 2 RBI double to give the Pioneers a 3-run lead.

The real hero of the day was Pioneer pitcher Hazel Eaton as she pitched all 15 innings on Monday afternoon. After taking a tough loss and throwing 102 pitches in game one, Eaton reached into an extra reserve closing the game for the Pioneers with 114 more pitches and giving the Pioneers a chance for a trip to the DII softball world series. Eaton threw 8 innings in game 2 (6 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 2 SO). The defense behind Eaton was stellar as the Pioneers did not commit an error in the championship game.

The Pioneers will now face Kirwood College out of Iowa for a trip to the NJCAA DII Softball World Series. The teams will play a best 2-3 series at MidRivers Field in Miles City starting on Saturday. Games will start at 1 p.m. An if-necessary 3rd game would take place on Sunday.

The Pioneer baseball men won a slugfest at Connors Stadium 17-15 over Williston State to take the MonDak Conference Tournament title. MCC will host the Region XIII Baseball Playoffs on May 13-15 in Miles City.

The Pioneers erased an early 8-2 deficit by scoring 4 runs in the 4th and 9 more in the 5th and then held on in the 9th inning when the Williston State Tetons rallied with 5 runs and had the tying runs on base in a see-saw affair.

Pioneer 1B Tim Holyk (Nanaimo, BC) had a huge day at the plate for the Pioneers going 4-6 (HR, 4 RBI, 3 R) and DH Tommy O'Connell (Kalispell, MT) belted 2 home runs in a 2-3 effort (2 HR, 2 BB, 4 RBI, 3 R) to help the Pioneers erase the early deficit they were in.

C Takumi Kimoto (Brisbane, Australia) was 2-4 (BB, 2 RBI, 2R) and fellow Aussie 2B Ryota Kusumoto was 2-6 (3B, 2 RBI, R). SS Jaeden Jordahl (Billings, MT) helped out with 2 hits as well and 3B Tyler Tenny (Helena, MT) homered and scored 3 runs in the game. CF Jake Lacey also scored 3 runs after getting a double and walking twice.

The Pioneers pounded out 14 hits and walked 8 times.

Mason Flanary (St. Anthony, ID) took to the mound for the Pioneers and went 1.1 innings (6 runs, H, 4 BB, 2 SO). Patrick Dietz (Manhattan, MT) pitched the next 5 innings (4 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 4 SO) before giving way to Josh Banderob (Great Falls, MT) for the next 2 innings (5 R, 5 H, BB, SO). Bridger Erickson came in to nail down the final 2 outs (H, SO).

Miles Community College and Connors Stadium will host the Region XIII Playoffs that will start on Friday. #2 seed Williston State will face #3 seed Dakota County Tech at 12:00 PM and #1 seed Miles will face #4 seed Bismarck State at 3:30 PM MST.