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Coyotes Look Toward Road to Regionals

The+San+Jacinto+College+Coyote+softball+team+found+its+stride+and+is+back+in+contention+for+a+strong+appearance+at+the+NJCAA+Region+XIV+tournament.
The San Jacinto College Coyote softball team found its stride and is back in contention for a strong appearance at the NJCAA Region XIV tournament.

The San Jacinto College Coyote softball team found its stride and is back in contention for a strong appearance at the NJCAA Region XIV tournament.

Courtesy of San Jacinto College Marketing, Public Relations and Government Affairs Department

Courtesy of San Jacinto College Marketing, Public Relations and Government Affairs Department

The San Jacinto College Coyote softball team found its stride and is back in contention for a strong appearance at the NJCAA Region XIV tournament.

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The San Jacinto College Coyote softball team found its stride after hitting a bumpy patch midseason and is back in contention for a strong appearance at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XIV tournament taking place May 6-9.

As of press time, the Coyotes are sporting a 34-16 overall record, 17-3 in-conference, before going into a heated doubleheader April 13 with arch rival Blinn. The Coyotes are looking to repeat last year’s winning performance where they ended the season as Region XIV champions and ranked seventh in the nation. 

Head Coach Kelly Saenz said she is confident the team will win the conference and make a “good run” at the regional tournament despite its earlier difficulties.

“At the beginning of the season, we were trying to figure out where to put the athletes to make the best possible lineup,” she said. “We are now closer to getting the right people in the right order for the best batting line up (and) are much closer solidifying our defense as well.”

This year marks an unusual time for San Jac athletics as the Board of Trustees decided to discontinue four of the College’s six athletic teams after the end of the 2017-18 season. However, softball, along with baseball, will continue as competitive sports. 

Saenz said her initial reaction to news of the programs cuts was one of shock and disappointment but understands the financial concerns underlying the College’s decision.

“When the reasons were explained to us, it made sense to me as an administrator, but as a coach, I was still surprised,” she said. “It is nice to be one of the two remaining programs, and we will continue to represent the college in the best way we can on and off the field.” 

Meanwhile, Saenz recently enjoyed a career high when her team beat Coastal Bend College 9-1 on March 3. 

“It is always nice to reach a milestone such as a 500th win,” she said, “especially doing it predominately at one college.”  

The Coyotes will play their last two home games at 3 p.m. on April 21 against Blinn College and 3 p.m. on April 25 against LSUE at the softball field on the South Campus.

*Joseph McKinley contributed to this report

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Coyotes Look Toward Road to Regionals