Taylor Spence

Taylor Spence pitched eight and a third innings in NCTC's win against Weatherford College on Friday.

WEATHERFORD – A tough draw against two nationally-ranked teams saw North Central Texas College finish its softball season Friday night.

NCTC (33-28) went 1-2 in the Region V North tournament Thursday and Friday at Weatherford College. The Lady Lions defeated hosts Weatherford 4-3 Thursday before falling 10-2 to McLennan Community College and 9-3 to Grayson College.

NCTC opened with a marathon game against Weatherford. Cheyenne Floyd won it for the Lady Lions in the bottom of the 13th inning with a two-out single, scoring Sasha Jennings. Taylor Spence pitched 8.1 innings, allowing 3 runs on 10 hits. Haleigh Hogan pitched the final 4.2 innings, allowing no runs on one hit. The two combined for 11 strikeouts and two walks.

The Lady Lions’ reward was a matchup against conference champion No. 7 McLennan. Alexis Tanguma gave NCTC a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with an RBI double, scoring Gabbi Smith. McLennan took the lead with 3 runs in the bottom half, then added another 3 in the second.

Floyd got a run back for NCTC with an RBI single in the third, scoring Smith. McLennan was unfazed and continued building its lead before triggering the run rule in the fifth.

The loss dropped NCTC into the losers’ bracket. Normally, NCTC could have expected an easier opponent in its first elimination game. Instead, the Lady Lions had to retake the field right after their loss to face No. 8 Grayson, the two-seed in the tournament. The Lady Vikings had been upset by seventh-seeded Vernon 4-1 in the opening round, dropping last year’s national runners-up into the losers’ bracket early.

Grayson led 5-0 after the third inning. NCTC got a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, but Grayson answered with 4 in the next half inning and held on to win, eliminating NCTC.

The Lady Lions finished the season having won eight of their last 11 games against teams not nationally ranked.

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