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2024 NJCAA DI Softball National Champions!

2024 NJCAA DI Softball National Champions!

Oxford, AL- The Indian River State College (IRSC) Pioneers battled all week in Oxford, Alabama, and capped off an epic 2024 season with an NJCAA D1 Softball National Championship Title!

After securing the Florida state and Region 8 titles in Clearwater, Florida, Indian River earned a bye in the first round as the second seed in the 2024 NJCAA Division 1 Softball World Series tournament. They achieved victories against #15 Hutchinson (Kansas) 2-0 in the second round and #7 Galveston (Texas) 10-1 in the third round, advancing to the quarterfinals of the winner's bracket against Northwest Florida State (NWF). Indian River had previously defeated NWF, the #2 ranked team in the nation, in the Florida state championship game (5-0), which also earned them the FCSAA South Atlantic District A title. Despite two decades of continuous appearances in the state tournament, titles had eluded Indian River for 18 years. This momentum carried the Pioneers into the national tournament, where they once again defeated the Raiders in Oxford, Alabama (3-2).

The team's next challenge was the semifinals against McLennan (Texas), the season-long nationally ranked #1. Unfortunately, Friday, May 24th, afternoon's game did not go in The River's favor. From start to finish, the Highlanders dominated, and IRSC faced their first loss (8-0) in the double-elimination format. This setback forced the Pioneers to quickly regroup, facing off against #5 Temple College (Texas) later that same evening. In a tightly contested game, Indian River demonstrated their resilience, securing a 2-0 victory over the Leopards.

This set the stage for the final two teams (#1 vs. #2) left standing in the NJCAA Division 1 Softball World Series title game. Saturday, May 25th, was poised to be epic as The River sought to avenge the previous day's defeat. The odds were stacked against the Pioneers, who would face a McLennan team that had won 60 games with only two losses all season. To claim the title, which IRSC last won in 2002, the Pioneers needed to defeat the Highlanders twice in a row. 

Game one was a back-and-forth battle, with both teams scoring in the first inning and then both scoring two runs in the fourth inning. Indian River fell behind in the fifth but quickly responded with two runs in the sixth to take the lead. An insurance run in the seventh was crucial for the Pioneers, with McLennan trailing by two in their last frame. Plating one run was not enough, and Indian River prevailed (6-5) to force the "if necessary" game. The momentum had shifted, and the intensity only increased. 

Game two was the decisive showdown. IRSC struck first in the opening inning on an offensive play that defined the Pioneers all season. Two stolen bases and risk-taking aggressiveness induced a two-out Highlander mistake to gain an early 1-0 lead. The pressure was mounting for McLennan as they could only muster one hit through the first three innings, while Indian River added runs in the fourth and sixth innings, leading 3-0 by the bottom of the seventh. The Highlanders wouldn't allow an easy finish and mounted a bases-loaded, no-out threat, keeping the packed house on edge. The atmosphere was electric with the national title on the line. However, two strikeouts and a fly ball catch sealed the victory for the Pioneers, igniting their celebration. 

After 22 years, Indian River Softball was once again on top of the NJCAA Division 1 mountain, crowned as the 2024 National Champions! 

Season Highlights Include:

  • The Pioneers achieved 57 wins this season, marking the most in two decades and a historic milestone for the program.
  • With 287 stolen bases, the team led the nation, highlighted by Cassidy Patterson's state-leading 76 stolen bases.
  • The Pioneers recorded 447 strikeouts, the highest in the nation, with J'dah Girigorie contributing an impressive 311 strikeouts to lead the state.
  • Four players were named to the World Series All-Tournament Team: Presley Smith, Adrianna Portanova, Cassidy Patterson, and J'dah Girigorie.
  • Two players were honored as NFCA All-Americans, with J'dah Girigorie earning a 1st Team spot and Cassidy Patterson making the 2nd Team.
  • The team secured their 4th state title in the program's history.
  • This season, the Pioneers celebrated their 2nd national title in the program's history.


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