With a 7-2 victory over Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on Saturday, Chipola (Fla.) won the 2015 NJCAA Division I Softball Championship. Claiming their program's second national title, the Indians raised the trophy for the first time since 2007.
Anchoring Chipola's victory on the mound was sophomore pitcher Jessica Elliott. In the complete game effort, she recorded four strikeouts and allowed just two runs on six hits and one walk.
Freshmen catcher Savannah Ryken and freshman right fielder Gabriela Santos led the Indians' offensive attack. Ryken had a 3-for-4 day at the plate with two RBIs. Santos went 1-for-2 with a team-high 3 RBIs, driving in two runs in the bottom of the third inning with a two-out single.
Chipola got on the board early with a single from Ryken, scoring sophomore second baseman Ciara Jones from second. Trailing 1-0 going into the third inning, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M increased its deficit with a costly mistake.
With runners at second and third, Golden Norse sophomore pitcher Quincy Charleston struck out Indians sophomore first baseman Jenna Reeves, but the pitch was wild. Reeves advanced to first while sophomore centerfielder Shelby Clark scored from third. The unregistered out became more costly for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M later in the inning with Santos' two-run single.
The Golden Norse responded in the top of the fourth inning with a two-run home run by freshman catcher Madison VanBurkleo, cutting Chipola's lead to 4-2. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M picked up two quick outs in the bottom half of the inning but again struggled to retire the side. With two outs, Chipola posted two runs behind a single from Ryken and a Golden Norse error.
After taking the 6-2 lead, the Indians tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Santos drove in sophomore third baseman Brashante' Dareus on a sacrifice fly.
Chipola's run to the title was defined by solid pitching and defense. The Indians opened the tournament with a 7-1 victory over Shelton State (Ala.), followed by a 6-1 win against Howard (Texas) in the second round. A 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Miami Dade (Fla.) was followed up by Chipola's first victory over Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, a 2-1 win in the semifinals.
Capping off the year with the 7-2 title game victory, Chipola improved to 49-10 for the season. The Golden Norse dropped their record to 50-16 for 2015.