SJR State softball, baseball teams head to world series

SJR baseball team celebrates title

The SJR State baseball team heads to the NJCAA Division II College World Series in Enid, Oklahoma.

SJR State softball team celebrate with President Joe Pickens

The SJR State softball team celebrates their NJCAA DII South Regional championship with President Joe Pickens.

For the first time in St. Johns River State College history, the Viking softball AND baseball teams have claimed the NJCAA DII South Regional championships, with both teams clinching a spot in the world series later this month.

With five straight victories in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) playoff in Alabama this weekend, the Lady Vikings defeated South Florida State College in their final game. This also marked the 50th win of the season for the team. The Lady Vikings will head to South Carolina May 20 - 25 to play in the NJCAA DII Softball World Series.

In addition to the team’s success, Coach Joe Pound was named FCSAA DII Coach of the Year. Sophomore center fielder/shortstop Kendall Catherwood was recognized as the Player of the Year. Jenny Bouthillier, Caylee Elder, Carolyn Lasater, Olivia Hansen, Alyssa Vallad and Princess Arredondo all made first team. Pitcher Brooke Strickland made second team.

SJR State President Joe Pickens, who joined the softball team in Alabama for the playoffs said “It was a great experience for us to be there in person for this historic achievement, ” Pickens said. “Carole and I, and the entire college community are so proud of both the softball and baseball teams for winning their regional championships. We’ve had an incredible year. The next two weeks are going to be equally exciting for the players and the entire Viking community.”

Softball head coach Joe Pound said the team continues to give it their all for the program. “Falling into the losers bracket early in the tournament and coming back to win five games in three days shows the character and fight this team has,” Pound said. “We’re looking forward to the world series next week. The team will rest the next couple of days and then get back into our normal routine of lifting weights and practicing.”

Sophomore infielder Kendall Catherwood said winning the championship felt like all of the work they have put in the last two years has finally paid off. “This team is special. We are ready to play our hardest and to make SJR State proud,” she said. “History is still in the making.”

And, for the second year in a row, the Vikings baseball team will head to the world series after defeating Coastal Alabama North and winning their NJCAA Division II South Regional championship Saturday. The team heads to the NJCAA Division II College World Series in Enid, Oklahoma May 25 – June 1.

Head baseball coach and athletic director Ross Jones said, "We are so proud of the successes of the baseball and softball programs this spring. Both teams competing for national championships in the same year is special," Jones said. “These student-athletes have not only enjoyed the championship successes on the field, but they also succeeded in the classroom. Combined, the two programs have over a 3.4 GPA this year.”

Sophomore outfielder Myles Liggins, who played in the world series last year, said this season has been more of a challenge than last season. “The road was a bit tougher because we battled more adversity and injuries, but this year it means more.”

Sophomore pitcher Payton Waters said the team will continue to prepare for the world series the way they have all year. “Trusting the process and keep working hard,” he said.

In their first meeting after Saturday’s winning game, Jones said, “I told you we were going to get there, and we’re there. Now we’ve got to finish it,” Jones said. “We know what the competition is going to be like. We can do this. The next 10 days, we’re going to work and we’re gonna have fun.”

To learn more about game times for both teams, visit the SJR State athletics webpage.

SJR State baseball team celebrates championship

The SJR State baseball team celebrates their NJCAA Division II South Regional championship.