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Softball Team Advances to National Championship

Barons softball team

For the first time in Burlington County College’s women’s softball history, the team will advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Softball National Championship in Clinton, Mississippi, May 14-18. The lady barons won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XIX Division II Women's Softball Tournament this past weekend to earn a spot in the championship tournament. 

“We came into the tournament at the bottom seed and defeated three talented teams,” said women’s softball head coach Kirk Peterson. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our student athletes. They are going to the world series of softball for junior colleges. It is very exciting and we look forward to the challenge.”

On Saturday, May 4 the Lady Barons defeated number one seed, Del Tech Owens 5-0 and lost to number three seed, Mercer County Community College 4-5. On Sunday, May 5 they defeated number two seed, County College of Morris 10-4. They also made a comeback against Mercer County Community College that day by defeating the team in two games 3-2 and 6-0 to take home the Region XIX tournament title.

Key highlights of the games included a two inning pitching relief by Krystal Pearson in Game 3 against the County College of Morris to position the team for a championship series. Krystine Rice and Melissa Rustemeyer hit two home runs each in the final games against Mercer County Community College, Game 4 and Game 5, respectively. Team members Emilia Paciotti, Gina Grynuik, Lisa Kosteleski, Devon Welsh, Morgan Neilson, Taylor Hamilton and Victoria Bryd all had score saving defensive stops throughout the tournament.

“The complete team effort enabled the Lady Barons to become Regional Champions,” said head coach Peterson.

Pitcher Carolyn Griffin of Marlton was named the tournament MVP. “Griffin pitched all three final games on Sunday. She was amazing,” said head coach Peterson. Griffin also recently received a Scholar-Athlete award at BCC’s Intercollegiate Athletics Award Ceremony. This award is presented to all student-athletes who have earned a GPA of 3.5 or higher after the fall 2012 semester.

The women’s softball team enters the national championship with a 38-15 record.

Pictured Above: Kneeling (Left to Right): Gina Gryniuk (Marlton), Lisa Kosteleski (Cherry Hill), Devon Welsh (Maple Shade), Emilia Paciotti (Bordentown), and Victoria Bryd (Lumberton). Standing (Left to Right): Krystal Pearson (Sayersville), Krystine Rice (Marlton), Morgan Neilson (Atco), Melissa Rustemeyer (Colonia), Carolyn Griffin (Marlton), and Taylor Hamliton (Willingboro). Rear (Left to Right): Head Coach Kirk Peterson, Assistant Coach Robert Holliday, and Volunteer Assistant Coach Maurice Wood. Not Pictured: Shannon Rautzahn and Assistant Coach Fred Balentine.