Kankakee, Madison advance with Region IV Division II championships

(Photo courtesy of Madison College Athletics/Nicole Hoffman)
(Photo courtesy of Madison College Athletics/Nicole Hoffman)

FREEPORT, ILL. - For one it's old hat, and for the other it's a fresh experience. Kankakee Community College and Madison College each won their respective NJCAA Region IV Division II Softball Tournament Championship on Sunday, May 6.

Top-seeded Madison College (49-8) claimed their first-ever District B title with a 3-1 defeat of third-seeded Sauk Valley Community College. Sophomores Katelin Gilbertson and Ashley Kniesel hit back-to-back home runs to push the WolfPack through after finishing runners-up in 2017. Madison College opened with a 7-2 defeat of fourth-seeded Carl Sandburg College and then beat the Skyhawks 9-1 in five innings in the semifinals. In need of one win on the second day, the WolfPack dropped game one of the championship by a 4-2 count to SVCC, forcing the winner-take-all game two.

Kankakee Community College (27-22) entered the District C Tournament as the #3 seed and upset top-seeded Prairie State College 6-5 in a rematch of last year's championship series to secure their 19th consecutive tournament crown. Mikayla Cole hit a two-run homer as the Cavaliers erased a 5-2 deficit. Kankakee started the weekend with a 3-2 win over second-seeded Triton College, and sent the Pioneers into the loser's bracket with a 7-1 decision in the semifinals.

The two teams will compete at the 2018 NJCAA Division II Softball National Championships in Clinton, Mississippi, from May 16-19. Tournament seeding, matchups, and game times are expected to be announced on Monday, May 14.

2018 Region IV District B All-Tournament Team

Lexie Bond - Highland Community College
Katelin Gilbertson - Madison College
Hannah Grahl - Madison College
Cheyenne Harrington - Sauk Valley Community College
Ashley Kniesel - Madison College
Rachel Patting - Sauk Valley Community College
Abby Peterson - Highland Community College
McKenzie Smith - Sauk Valley Community College
Nadia Trujillo - Sauk Valley Community College
Emily Wiederholt - Madison College

Coach of the Year

Leo Kalinowski - Madison College

2018 Region IV District C All-Tournament Team

Mikayla Cole - Kankakee Community College
Sydney Harrison - Kankakee Community College
Sidney Hero - Prairie State College
Rebecca Johnson - Triton College
Sarah Kessler - Prairie State College
Megan Lanie - Kankakee Community College
Emma Ledbetter - Kankakee Community College
Guilia Magnelli - Triton College
Samantha Wahl - Triton College
Marissa West - Kankakee Community College

Coach of the Year

Keith Cooper - Kankakee Community College