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Anne Photograp News 2024

Mercer CC softball takes on North Carolina’s Louisburg in a 3-game series for a spot in the NJCAA Division II World Series – Trentonian
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Mercer CC softball takes on North Carolina’s Louisburg in a 3-game series for a spot in the NJCAA Division II World Series – Trentonian

Hamilton West graduate Cierra Acevedo in action for Mercer. (Courtesy of Mercer CC Athletics)

It was a heartbreaking end to the region tournament for the Mercer County College softball team, which battled all the way back from a loss in its opening game to reach the title game.

The Vikings forced the if game with a win over Delaware Tech, only to see the First Staters rally to take the Region 19 crown, 11-9.

Although it was a disappointing loss, Mercer (42-7) earned a berth in the NJCAA Division II tournament. The Vikings are in Louisburg, NC, to take on No. 5 Louisburg College (50-6) in the Atlantic A District Series.

It will be a best of three series with games at 4 p.m. and Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday if necessary. A series win sends the Vikings further south to the Division II World Series in Spartanburg, SC

“This will be a great opportunity and experience for this group,” Mercer coach Ryan Zegarski said. “I’m really excited to see how they handle it.”

Mercer has been a pretty resilient team and once the incentive wears off and they take the field, two things will happen: they will enjoy being on the field again and that competitive spirit will return.

“We’ll keep it light and fun in practice and try to keep them loose,” Zegarski said. “But also focus on the coming weekend series.”

There were some very strong individual performances in the region event as Maya Patel had four home runs, nine RBI and nine runs scored and she was the catalyst in the first win over DelTech.

Abby Bell was behind the plate every inning of the five-game tournament and contributed seven hits.

The Vikings would like to come out and settle things early so that Louisburg realizes a fight is coming.

“I believe it is very important to set the tone against a team that is in the top five of the NJCAA,” Zegarski said. “If we fall behind early, our kids will fight to the end, just like they did last weekend.”

Cierra Acevedo (Hamilton West) is proof that there is not an ounce of slack on this team, as she had six extra base hits, two home runs and eight RBI’s.

Madison Jones had five hits and a great run with the glove and Jessica Adams did a great job in the circle.

It has been a great season for Mercer and playing against a team of Louisburg’s caliber will not only be a great experience, but also a testament to the level of softball the program has risen to.