TWIN FALLS — For the first time since 2014, the Region 18 softball tournament will be played in Twin Falls.
The Scenic West Athletic Conference’s tournament spent the previous three years in Salt Lake City, and it almost returned this spring. But the College of Southern Idaho held off Salt Lake Community College to finish first in the conference standings.
The Golden Eagles clinched the regular season title in Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of the College of Southern Nevada. An 8-0 win in game one sealed the No. 1 seed. A 12-2 win in game two secured a series sweep and a tribute to CSI’s eight sophomores.
“After the fall season, we all felt super good coming into this season,” said sophomore infielder Courtney Argyle, a Jerome High School graduate. “We all knew we had the ability to do it [earn the top seed]. Coming into this weekend, we were really stoked for it because we knew we could do it.”
The sophomores were honored between Saturday’s games, but a couple of freshman highlighted the weekend for the Golden Eagles.
Third baseman Anjalee Batchelor celebrated her 20th birthday on Friday with three home runs in CSI’s doubleheader sweep. On Saturday, she went 4-for-5 over the two games and hit a solo home run in each blowout.
“I was just happy. I was relaxed, didn’t think about anything,” Batchelor said. “You’re always happy on your birthday.”
For CSI’s standards this weekend, Tristin Evans was relatively quiet on Friday — 3-for-6 overall, two doubles, one homer. Her bat was loud on Saturday.
The freshman went 3-for-3 with two solo shots in the 8-0 win, and she was 2-for-2 with a solo homer and a two-run blast in the 12-2 victory.
Evans leads the Golden Eagles with 22 home runs this season, complementing a .517 batting average, a .550 on-base percentage and a team-best 1.068 slugging percentage.
As a team, CSI has hit 121 homers this spring, tops in the SWAC. That mark is also the most in program history. The previous single season home run record was 109, set by the 2009 team.
“Our talent and our team chemistry really came together this year,” Argyle said. “Way different from last year. I don’t think we had the team chemistry. We had the talent, but this year, everything came together for us.”
On Saturday, CSI got another dominant performance from sophomore Stefani Zimmerman. The right-hander allowed four hits and one walk with four strikeouts in the five-inning shutout. Her ERA this season in 140.1 innings is 2.14.
Hadlie Henderson (3.13 season ERA) also had a solid line in the second game, which also lasted five innings: four innings, four hits, two runs (one earned), no walks, one hit-by-pitch, one strikeout.
The Golden Eagles (44-10, 34-6), ranked No. 8 in the NJCAA Division I poll, earned a first-round bye in next week’s Region 18 tournament, which will begin on Wednesday and run through Friday. Snow is the No. 3 seed, USU Eastern is No. 4, CSN is No. 5 and Colorado Northwestern CC is No. 6.
“We have a lot of games left to play,” Argyle said.
CSI baseball ends regular season with two road losses
HENDERSON, Nev. — The CSI baseball team, which clinched the top seed in the SWAC tournament on Friday, finished the regular season with a pair of losses at CSN.
The Coyotes won the first game 6-5 in 11 innings and took the second 9-3.
In game one, CSI took a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning, when CSN scored three runs. The score ballooned to 4-2, but the Golden Eagles scored one run in both the sixth and the seventh to tie it up.
CSI took a 5-4 lead in the top of the 10th, but CSN tied it up with a two-out single in the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the 11th, Jordan Macias hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a Charlie Fry wild pitch. Joey O’Brien drove Macias in with a single.
At the plate for CSI, Shawn Grandmont went 4-for-5, and Hayden Leatham went 2-for-4 with a double.
In game two, CSI took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, but CSN scored three in the bottom half and five in the fifth to pull ahead 9-3.
CSI’s Travis Bohall (1-for-4) and Nolan Walker (1-for-2, walk) each hit triples, and Twin Falls High School graduate Ryan Nolan went 1-for-2 with a walk.
The 15th-ranked Golden Eagles (44-10, 24-8) will get a first-round bye in next week’s Region 18 tournament, which will run from Wednesday to Friday at CSI’s Skip Walker Field. SLCC is the No. 2 seed, CSN is No. 3, USU Eastern is No. 4 and CNCC is No. 5.