Lady Leopards

Temple College freshman Alyssa Escamilla runs to first base during a game at the NJCAA Division I softball national tournament.

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Temple Collage staved off one brush with elimination Friday but not a second, and the Lady Leopards’ thrilling reign as NJCAA Division I champions ended on Day 3 of the 2019 national tournament.

Top-seeded Seminole State (Okla.), which earlier Friday had its 48-game winning streak snapped with a loss to Angelina, hit four home runs against TC in a 6-2 victory that knocked the sixth-seeded Lady Leopards out of the running.

A year after capturing the program’s first — and quite memorable — national title, Temple finished this season 49-11.

The Lady Leopards, who’d won 14 in a row going into nationals and opened the tournament with an 8-0 win over Chattanooga State, had been in a win-or-go-home scenario since a 7-3 loss to Chipola on Thursday afternoon. TC rebounded late Thursday night with a 13-5 nod over Tyler to stay afloat.

Back to work Friday afternoon, Temple — the Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference and Region V champion — quickly eased past Shelton State 14-1 for its third run-rule win of the tourney, setting up a matchup with Seminole State (54-3).

Emily Richardson put the Trojans ahead with a solo home run in the top of the first off TC starter Taylor Gruell.

Shay Harper’s three-run homer in the third made it 4-0, but the Lady Leopards sliced into that deficit in their half of the third when Tiler Noyola scored on an error and MacKenzie Purcell plated Savanna Parker with a sacrifice fly.

Solo home runs from Jocee Sparks and Joli Romine in the fifth and sixth padded Seminole’s lead, and pitcher Shianne Eddings polished off a complete game with a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh.

Gruell allowed four runs on five hits and five walks in 2 2/3 innings. Breanna Hernandez took over in the third, giving up six hits and two runs the rest of the way. Madilyn Weatherly went 2-for-2.

Sparks, Romine and Emily Richardson had two hits apiece for Seminole.

Weatherly, who is headed to Sam Houston State next season, powered TC’s win earlier Friday over Shelton. The left-handed hitting sophomore went 3-for-3, including two home runs, and had seven RBIs. Noyola was 3-for-4, Parker and Daisy Gonzalez each hit home runs, and Purcell and Ava McCoy had two hits each in the onslaught.