Brookdale C.C. softball second in country

Blues fall in national tourney final

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

What Bo Scannapieco wanted his Brookdale Community College women’s softball team to take away from the 2008 season was their resourcefulness.

“I think we did a great job,” he said. “We fought back in midseason to get back to where we were.”

That was the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Softball National Championship game.

Although the Blues would lose the final to Monroe (Rochester, N.Y.), 12-4, it was an accomplishment all its own to be in the tournament in the first place.

Thirty games into the season, the Jersey Blues were a .500 team and their dynasty appeared to be on thin ice. Just the year before, BCC had seen its 11-year reign in Region XIX snapped. Whether it was a sign of the opposition catching up or the law of averages catching up to them remained to be answered in 2008.

When the Blues were under .500 for the first half of the season, the former appeared to be the case. Maybe the Blues were no longer the national-caliber team they used to be.

But Scannapieco, who was confident all along that he had the talent to get back to the NJCAA, remained convinced his Blues had what it takes. Sooner or later, the team’s talent would take over.

The Blues did not disappoint. They would lose only one game during the Garden State Athletic Conference season and retain their title. Then, at the Region XIX tournament, revenge was sweet as the Blues rolled through the tournament undefeated and were back in the NJCAA held in Rochester, Minn., May 15-17, for the 12th time in the past 13 years.

Brookdale, which won national titles for Scannapieco in 2002 and again in 2005, was on course to repeat the pattern of championships every three years.

The Blues beat Lorain County (Ohio), 8-0, in their opener and Queesborough (N.Y.), 12-0, to advance to the winner’s bracket final. Pitchers Jessica Assip and Amy Bankos tossed the shutouts.

Bankos got the win in the bracket final 2-1 over Westmoreland (Pa.), and the Blues waited to see who would play them for the championship.

Monroe played its way into the double elimination final by taking out Westmoreland, 4-1. Monroe beat Brookdale, 23-2, to force another game.

Monroe was again the superior team, taking home the championship with the 12-4 victory.

“”We were overmatched,” said Scannapieco. “They were the best team there.”

Bankos’ two wins gave her 18 for the season. Melia had eight hits in the tournament, including a double and four triples, while Rubel smacked two home runs.

Brookdale finished the season with a 36-21 record. It’s not the winning percentage that is usually associated with the Jersey Blues, but what mattered most is that for the third time in the last four years, they were in the national final.