BRENHAM, Texas -- The Blinn Buccaneers’ quest for a fifth consecutive NJCAA National Championships appearance will begin Thursday with a 12:30 p.m. game against Navarro at the Region XIV Softball Tournament in Corsicana.
Blinn enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed from the South Zone while Navarro is the No. 2 seed from the East Zone. In other first-round games Thursday, San Jacinto (East #3) plays Northeast Texas (South #2) at 10 a.m., Paris (East #1) plays Alvin (South #4) at 3 p.m. and Galveston (East #4) plays Trinity Valley (South #1) at 5:30 p.m.
With a first-round win, Blinn would advance to play the winner between Galveston and Trinity Valley.
The Buccaneers enter the tournament with an offense that has hit .336 during the regular season. Sophomore outfielder Tiffani McKnight leads the team with 82 hits, good for a .480 average. She has nine home runs and 39 RBIs on the season as well as 15 stolen bases.
Sophomore shortstop Kristina Davila is batting .429 this season and leads the team with 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 58 RBIs. Sophomore center fielder Christa Hartnett is batting .337 with 41 runs scored and 15 stolen bases, while freshman third baseman Peyton Webb is batting .380 with five homers and 35 RBIs.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneer pitching staff has posted a 2.94 ERA this season. Freshman Shannon O’Connor (16-10), has thrown 174 innings heading into the tournament, with a 2.66 ERA and 143 strikeouts. Sophomore Caitie Carney (11-6) has thrown 106 innings, posting a 3.50 ERA and 62 strikeouts.
Blinn has advanced to nationals in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The team placed fifth at last year’s national tournament.
The two finalists at the Region XIV Tournament earn automatic bids to the national tournament held in St. George, Utah.