Three team members of the Italian National Softball Team, Marta Gasparotto, Elisa Grifagno and Melany Sheldon, have returned home to Italy after competing for Chipola College in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Finals in St. George, Utah.
Having won the 2017 Florida Panhandle Conference, Gasparotto, Grifagno, and Sheldon played hard for the powerful third-ranked Chipola College Lady Indians softball team (59-9 overall) in the NJCAA Division I Championship tournament. Chipola College was one of sixteen regional champions competing for the national title on May 17, 2017. They came from behind to beat North Central Texas College 5-3 after trailing 3-2 in bottom of the seventh inning.
In addition to playing a strong defense at second base, Sheldon got two hits and stole a base to help Chipola College win their first and only game of the competition. North Central Texas College baserunners feared an encounter with Gasparotto’s accurate throwing arm, which prevented any stolen base attempts during the game. Before the NJCAA Division I Championship, Gasparotto was named to the Panhandle All-Conference Second Team.
In the second game of the competition against Central Arizona College on May 18. 2017, Grifagno played a strong second base and notched one hit, while Sheldon and Gasparotto each stole a base. Despite their valiant effort, Chipola College lost 2-0. The Lady Indians were eliminated in their final game against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in a closely contested 1-0 shutout.
by Roberto Angotti