This is a news release from JCJC athletics
ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College will have a presence in Canada over the next two weeks.
Softball players Tori Dew and Lauren Holifield, along with Lady Bobcat head coach Chris Robinson, are all part of the NJCAA All-Star team that will be competing in the Scotiabank Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship July 3-13 in Surrey, British Columbia.
Robinson, who is serving as Director of Operations for the NJCAA team, said he first received noticed about this event while attending the National Fastpitch Coaches Association last year in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"I was approached after the NFCA Convention about being on a committee for the selection process," he said Wednesday afternoon from Surrey. "I was asked to be a part of the coaching staff and was honored to be a part of it.
"I'm very pleased to be a part of this and so excited about it helping our program."
Robinson said that Dew and Holifield were chosen as part of the 16-player NJCAA team because of their outstanding seasons and careers at JCJC.
"Lauren and Tori were selected from a list of possible participants," he said. "We had a practice today and things went well. We have an exciting group of young ladies who are ready to get to work and show the world what the NJCAA has."
Both Dew and Holifield have signed with Southern Miss and were both NJCAA Marucci Elite Hitter Award recipients.
Holifield, the 2015 NJCAA Division II Player of the Year, hit .503 with 28 home runs and 82 RBIs this season. The New Hope High School product was a first-team All-American, won the MACJC Triple Crown and led the nation in home runs.
Dew, the 2014 NJCAA Division II Player of the Year, hit .474 with 15 home runs and 59 RBIs this year. The Quitman native was a second-team All-American this year.
There are nine teams in the tournament – NJCAA, Basque Country-Spain, Team Canada, Team Cuba, Team Dominican Republic, Team Mexico, Team Japan, Team Puerto Rico and the Rivercity Hornets out of Edmonton, Alberta. There will be pool play from July 4-11 and the double-elimination portion of the event will begin on July 11. The champion will be determined on July 13.
The NJCAA Team will play the Canadian Junior National Team at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Central Time on Friday in exhibition games. They will also play exhibition games vs. two 18 and Under Gold Teams at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Central Time on Sunday.
Their first actual tournament game will be at 8:30 p.m. Central Time on Saturday vs. Basque Country-Spain.
Robinson said it's an exciting time to be in British Columbia with the Women's World Cup taking place in nearby Vancouver.
"It's great," he said. "Today (July 1) is Canada Day, so they are celebrating their independence. There will be fireworks tonight. The weather feels great. It's sunny and nice and feels like a mid-October day."
Dew will be at first base, while Holifield could play shortstop, third base and possibly second base during the tournament.
"Lauren and Tori are fitting in great with the team," Robinson said. "We were delayed some getting in last night, so they met the rest of the team for the first time this morning."
Robinson has coached the Lady Bobcats for six years and has compiled a 232-81 record. He guided JCJC to three straight MACJC titles and an NJCAA runnerup finish in 2014.
This past year, JCJC was ranked No. 1 for several weeks of the season, finished No. 2 in the final regular season poll and posted a 41-6 record.
Howie Smith of Dodge City College (Kansas) is the head coach of the NJCAA squad, while Robinson, Jayne Clem of Wallace State Community College (Alabama), Lana Ross of Iowa Western, Elaine Covin of Alabama Southern and Ryan Connell of the College of DuPage (Illinois) are assistant coaches.
Fans can follow the NJCAA All-Stars on GameChanger, Twitter and Instagram. Tournament details are available at www.canadianopenfastpitch.com.