Mercer’s sea­son ends af­ter run to JUCO World Se­ries

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Rick Forten­baugh rforten­baugh@tren­to­nian.com @Rick­Fort7 on Twit­ter

Although the Mercer County Com­mu­nity Col­lege soft­ball team was hop­ing to do more, what should not be over­looked is the fact it ac­com­plished a lot.

Com­pet­ing in the JUCO Divi­sion I World Se­ries for just the fifth time in the school’s his­tory, Mercer ended up ex­it­ing the tour­na­ment in Clin­ton, Mis­sis­sippi in two straight.

On Wed­nes­day Mercer suf­fered a tough 5-4 loss in its opener to LSU Eu­nice, which has long been a feeder for the pow­er­house Univer­sity of Louisiana pro­gram and came into the tour­na­ment ranked third in the coun­try.

Mercer could have eas­ily won this game as it moved out to a 4-0 lead be­hind a tworun homer by Ta­tum Marshall. The Louisiana girls, how­ever, got back in the game on a fluke play in which a blooper to the out­field ticked off the glove of div­ing sec­ond base­man So­phie Beretski and rolled down the right field line in the sixth in­ning.

Three runs scored on the play and then LSU Eu­nice tied it with an­other hit. Af­ter Mercer failed to score in the top of the sev­enth, LSU Eu­nice won it in walk-off fash­ion.

Mercer then met the end of the line Thurs­day in a 10- 0 loss to Madi­son of Wis­con­sin. Stein­ert grad­u­ate Ka­ley Wise had a three­hit­ter go­ing through five in­nings and trailed by only the score of 1-0, but the wheels fell off from there.

“I re­ally be­lieve if we had won that first game we would have been in pretty good shape,” said Mercer CCC coach Ryan Ze­garski. “LSU Eu­nice was beat­ing the team we would have played, 6-0, the last time I looked.”

Mercer ended up with a record of 37-8-1, which is the third high­est num­ber of wins in the his­tory of the pro­gram.

“I view it 100 per­cent as a pos­i­tive sea­son,” said Ze­garski. “A lot of these kids had great years for us. It’s a lit­tle bit­ter­sweet be­cause you al­ways want to win, but these girls have an aw­ful lot to be proud of.”

Mercer will lose 11 sec­ond-year play­ers, but al­ready has com­mit­ments from a host of tal­ented high school se­niors from around the Trenton area.

“It will be a dif­fer­ent kind of team next year,” said Ze­garski. “Next year we will have more speed. This team had a lot of power. It was a spe­cial group that re­ally came to­gether.”

KA­LEY WISE — CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Mercer County CC soft­ball team reached the JUCO Divi­sion I World Se­ries this sea­son.

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