WEATHERFORD — Ava McCoy’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning drove in Lenzi Stewart and lifted Temple College to a 7-6 victory over North Central Texas on Monday, giving the Lady Leopards the Region 5 North title and earning them a shot at their second consecutive national championship.
The defending national champion Lady Leopards (46-9) will compete in the NJCAA national tournament May 22-25 in St. George, Utah.
“The girls put a lot of pressure on themselves this year to live up to last year, but they settled in to being their own team and reaching their goals,” TC coach Kristen Zaleski said.
To get back to Utah, the Lady Leopards had to rally from deficits three times Monday. Temple matched North Central’s fourth-inning run with one in the bottom of the frame, climbed out of another one-run hole by scoring twice in the fifth and answered North Central’s four-run sixth with three runs in the bottom of the inning to tie it at 6-all.
“We were a little tight in our at-bats early. We couldn’t string a lot together,” Zaleski said. “But the girls kept responding after North Central would score. That showed a lot of grit.”
Breanna Hernandez pitched the first 4 1/3 innings for Temple, gave way to Taylor Gruell for two innings, and then got the final two outs in the top of the seventh to earn the win.