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May 18, 2013

WALLACE STATE SOFTBALL: Lions capture second NJCAA Division I national championship

(Continued)

ST GEORGE, Utah —

After allowing a one-out solo homer and single in the bottom of the seventh, DeFee induced a 4-6-3 double play to start the celebration.

“Words can’t describe what this means to this team. It’s the best feeling I’ve had in my life,” said DeFee, a Eufaula native. “We proved ourselves the entire tournament. I knew our hitters were going to come through and take the pressure off the pitching staff.”

DeFee was pressed into duty earlier than she expected during Saturday’s opener, relieving BreeAnna Blevins and readjusting to Salt Lake hitters in the championship game. DeFee (26-5) earned three victories in the tournament, including two against second-seeded Salt Lake.

“It took a while for me to get ready mentally, and after we lost that first one, I told myself we weren’t going to lose the second one,” DeFee said. “I knew my teammates weren’t going to let it happen either.”

Wallace State reeled off a perfect march at the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) tournament earlier this month to punch its national tournament bid and was nearly as dominant at nationals. The Lady Lions felt they were slighted by earning a No. 8 seed in Utah, and they made each opponent pay.

Along their route to the title, Wallace State defeated top-seeded Butler (Kan.) CC, No. 2 Salt Lake and fifth-seeded Pima (Ariz.) CC.

“We play as a team — that’s all it is. From the first game at the state tournament to the last game here, we played as a team. Butler (CC) had tons of girls already signed with Division I programs, but that didn’t matter or intimidate us,” Wallace State sophomore catcher Paige Rowland said. “We knew what our mission was and we were going to get it. It also helped out we came so close last year. We knew what to expect and some teams here didn’t.”

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