NPC softball splits with Bucks

MENA, Ark. — The National Park College (NPC) Nighthawk softball team (28-18, 12-8) split its NJCAA Region II series against University of Arkansas Rich Mountain (UA Rich Mountain) Saturday, dropping a 4-1 decision in the opener and taking a 11-9 victory in the finale. 

Jadyn Hart. Aaron Brewer photos.

Despite outhitting the Bucks, a three-run third inning was all UA Rich Mountain needed to take game one. NPC grabbed the lead, 1-0, in the third inning with freshman catcher Gracie Redmon (Benton) scoring on an error. The Bucks answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame, followed by an insurance run in the fourth inning while holding the Nighthawks at bay, offensively, to seal the victory. 

Sophomore pitcher Makenna Keeton (Morrilton) got the start for NPC, allowing four runs on six hits over six innings, striking out seven. Freshman second baseman Reagan White (Carrollton, Texas) led NPC at the plate, finishing two-for-four in the loss.

Two big innings turned the tide for NPC in game two. After falling behind, 1-0, after the first inning, the Nighthawks erupted for five runs in the second and third innings, respectively. NPC grabbed the lead in the second inning on a two-run single from sophomore center fielder Emma Hayes (Munford, Alabama), an RBI single from White and a two-run double from sophomore pitcher Jadyn Hart (Magazine). 

Reagan White

The Nighthawks padded their lead in the third inning on a three-run home run from sophomore left fielder Shelbee LeJeune (Maurice, Louisiana) followed by a two-run single from Hart. Hayes scored on a pickoff attempt in the fifth inning as the Nighthawks held off a late Bucks rally to even the series. 

Hart pitched NPC to victory, earning her eighth win of the season. The sophomore went five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, striking out two. Hart later returned in relief, where she recorded the final three outs of the game, leaving the bases loaded.  

NPC continues NJCAA Region II play at South Arkansas College with a doubleheader today, April 27, beginning at 2 p.m. The Nighthawks celebrate Sophomore Day with a double header against North Arkansas College Saturday, April 29, beginning at 2 p.m. 

For more information on schedules, rosters and more, visit Nighthawks softball online. Fans can also follow the Nighthawks all season on social media.