ST. GEORGE, Utah---A back and forth battle tipped against the Arizona Western College Matadors, ending the incredible season at the hands of the Shelton State Buccaneers 7-6 Thursday evning at the Canyons Complex in the second round of the NJCAA Championship.
For the second straight game, a team from Alabama struck first against Arizona Western. Jill Hamilton's two-run homer against Matador Starter Sarah Velasquez put the Buccaneers up two, before Hannah Sartain added an RBI single in the inning to put Shelton State up 3-0.
The Matadors answered right back in the bottom of the inning when Sabrina Garcia's two-run homer cleared the fence in left-center field.
AWC gained its first lead of the week in the bottom of the fourth when consecutive singles from Cassandra Valle and Michelle Roldan started the inning. After a sacrifice bunt from Andrea Cline moved runners to second and third, Nicole Moran drove a single to right field to score Valle and pinch-runner Nylze Salazar.
Shelton State regained the lead in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs against Koryne Coddington, who entered the game in relief.
Arizona Western would get the lead right back when Cassandra Valle's two-run homer made it 6-5 in favor of the Matadors.
The Buccaneers would tie the game in the sixth with a run, setting up a dramatic seventh.
With the score tied at 6, Shelton State loaded the bases against Coddington with two-outs. After a close two-strike pitch was called a ball, Coddington got a dribbler back to the circle, but an errant throw down over the head of Roldan gave the Buccaneers a lead.
The Matadors would threatened with the winning run on second and tying run on third, but Kaitlyn Childress worked out of the threat with a strike-out and pop-out to end the Matador season and push Shelton State onto another elimination game against Howard College Thursday night.
The Arizona Western season concludes at 53-12 and the programs first National Championship Tournament appearance in five years.