The Cottey College Comets softball team is the 2017 Region XVI champions after their 9-7 come-from-behind win against St. Louis Community College in the deciding game on Sunday, May 7.
Cottey College hosted the region tournament, but few gave the home team much of a chance of winning the title as they were the fourth seed out of four teams in the region. There were a few glimmers of hope, however. First-year coach Mark Skapin had put together the winningest team in Comets’ history, with a single season win total that topped the total number of career wins. The team finished with a regular season record of 12-16.
On Saturday, the Comets faced off against St. Louis in an early morning game, squeaking out an extra inning victory, 4-3, in eight innings. Cottey then defeated East Central College 3-1 in the semifinal game to advance to the championship. St. Louis defeated Mineral Area College in their next game, 7-3, to face Cottey in what could have been the championship game for the Comets. However, the Lady Archers came out of the loser’s bracket to defeat Cottey 3-11 and force a second championship game. This would be the third time these two teams would play each other that weekend.
Trailing 6-7 in the seventh and final inning, the Comets pushed three runs across the plate and secured their first regional championship in any sport with a 9-7 win.
Skapin started Marisa Jervis in the deciding game. Jervis gave up a total of ten hits, but only two of the Lady Archers seven runs were earned. Hannah Bridges hit two home runs and Elizabeth “Izzy” Milligan added a home run of her own.
“I cannot express how proud I am of these 12 student athletes,” said head coach Mark Skapin. “They worked incredibly hard, persevered through so much, and never stopped believing that they could accomplish something that no one believed was possible. The results of this tournament are a true testament to what a team can do when they play for one another as a family. I am incredibly proud of how far they have come as a group.”
Jervis, Milligan, Bridges, and Michala Coffman all received first-team, all-region honors.
The Comets record (regular and post-season) stands at 15-17. Cottey will travel to Danville Area Community College in Illinois on Thursday and Friday. The Comets will play two games in the District Tournament on Thursday and a third game on Friday if necessary.