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South Valley Journal

Bruins softball set in top five

Mar 28, 2017 03:38PM ● By Greg James

The Bruins women’s softball team celebrates victory over USU Eastern in its home series March 11. (Rachel Rowan/SLCC athletics)

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

The top-ranked Salt Lake Community College Bruins women's softball team has steamrolled through the preseason and is taking on its region opponents.

The Bruins won their first five games of the season. Their dominance showed why they are ranked in the top 5 in the Nation Junior College Athletic Association preseason poll.

They began the season with five straight victories in Henderson, Nevada. The first game Jan. 27 was a 6-2 victory over Eastern Arizona. Freshman Addie Jensen had six strikeouts in seven innings. The Bruins fell behind in the top of the first inning but rallied to secure the victory.

The final four games of its Henderson tournament, the Bruins scored 52 runs. Their pitching and defense only allowed 15.

Pitching is a key part to success in softball. The Bruins have had stellar performances in the circle to start the season. Jensen has started seven games. She has a 2.57 earned run average and is 6-1 in those games. She has struck out 42 opposing hitters to lead the team.

Sophomore Chantelle Ladner has also been stellar for the Bruins in the pitching circle, despite a tough 11-3 loss to the College of Southern Idaho in her first region game. The loss elevated her early season ERA to 5.03. The Golden Eagles capitalized on an error and three hits to jump to a 4-0 lead. The Bruins scored two in the top of the second, but a seven-run fourth by CSI signaled its final fate.

Lander, a sophomore, is from Australia. She attended Mount Annan High School in South Wales. She has international experience with the 2015 Australian U19 team and competed in the WBSC World Championship. She was named best pitcher and a member of the all-tournament team in the 2014 U19 Australian National Championship tournament.

The Bruins have several talented local players in their lineup. Herriman High School graduates Bryce Taylor, Lauren Tycksen and Kynra Nelson have played significant roles in the teams early season success.

The speedy Tycksen has been leading off consistently. She is hitting .388, and her two stolen bases lead the Bruins. Taylor has a 2.79 ERA in three games.

Sophomore Alex Valencia leads the team with a .512 batting average. She is from Syracuse, Utah. Another sophomore, Madison Sisco leads the team in home runs with 12.

The Bruins have a hold on first place in Region 18. They are 5-1 in Region and 13-4 overall at press time.

Cyndee Bennett is in her fourth year as the Bruins head coach. She had been an assistant for six years prior to that. She played collegiately at the University of Utah where she was twice selected as an all-conference player.

Last season the Bruins had a 48-9 regular season record and captured a Scenic West Athletic Conference Championship. They advanced to the national championship semi-finals, where they placed third overall.

The Bruins are scheduled to have an eight-game home-stand beginning March 31–April 8. They host Colorado Northwestern and then close out with four games against second-place CSI.