Former Hawk Taylor Jensen was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the tourney
WATCH: Taylor Jensen continues to make the game of softball look easy as she excels at the collegiate level for the Florida SouthWestern State College Bucs in Fort Myers.
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – The Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers are bringing the NJCAA National Championship trophy to Fort Myers and former Viera Hawk standout Taylor Jensen got the Bucs’ rally started in the sixth inning, blasting a home run over the wall in left-center field to tie the game at 1 all.
The Bucs then scored four runs in the 7th inning to break the 1-1 tie against the Grayson Vikings Saturday afternoon in Yuma, Arizona, going onto win the school’s first National Championship with a 5-1 victory to finish the tournament a perfect 5-0.
The offense was at a premium early on in the 2021 NJCAA National Championship Game as neither #3 Florida SouthWestern nor #4 Grayson could get anything going through the first two innings of action as the game flew to the 3rd scoreless.
Both teams had chances in the 3rd as the Bucs put runners on the corners with one out but couldn’t score, while the Vikings took advantage of an FSW error with a two-out RBI single up the middle to put the first run of the day on the scoreboard and take a 1-0 lead.
After a 1-2-3 top of the 4th for FSW, Grayson looked like they were going to add to their lead in the bottom of the frame, putting two on with no out, but Buccaneer starter Alyssa O’Donnell got three straight flyouts to end the threat and keep it a 1-0 contest.
Both teams had traffic in the 5th but couldn’t push anything across and the game swiftly moved onto the 6th with the Vikings clinging to a 1-0 lead.
With one out in the sixth, Jensen finally got the Bucs on the board, blasting the second pitch she saw sailing over the wall in left-center field to tie the game at 1.
O’Donnell kept the momentum in the Bucs dugout, retiring the Grayson lineup in order in the bottom half to keep the game tied up at 1.
Feline Poot was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to start the FSW 7th and moved to second when Owen Bowers laced a single to left.
The two moved up 60 feet on a sacrifice bunt from Beth Reid and that’s when FSW Head Coach Robert Iamurri called on his secret weapon off the bench, Chelsea Brown.
O’Donnell did the rest, getting a pair of fly-outs to the left to start the Grayson 7th before getting a ground ball to Lindsey Corbin at short to finish it off and the celebration was on as the Bucs won it 5-1 to claim their first National Championship in program history.
The Bucs outhit the Vikings 9-5 in the championship tilt. Bowers and Laudino had two hits apiece while Ellis and Brown each drove in a pair. O’Donnell was spectacular in the circle, going the distance and allowing just five hits and one unearned run to finish the season a sparkling 23-1 for the Bucs.
FSW finishes their National Championship season 49-4 while Grayson earned runner-up honors at 49-7.
The Bucs wrap up their season by defeating seven different NJCAA Top 15 ranked teams in their final eight games of the year on the way to the title.
At the conclusion of the tournament, seven different Bucs were honored by the NJCAA as Laudino, Bowers, O’Donnell, and Shanika Klett were named to the All-Tournament Team while Jensen was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the tournament, Ellis the Most Outstanding Offensive Player, and Plummer the Most Valuable Player.
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY NEWS