By Jared Fields, Sports Writer
The Wildcat softball team entered last weekend’s Lone Star Conference Tournament on the verge of making the NCAA II Regional Tour-nament. The Wildcats needed to make a strong showing in the tournament to ensure a spot in regionals.
The women opened the double elimination tournament against Southeastern Oklahoma State. Junior pit-cher Jennifer Leal threw seven innings and allowed four earned runs, but the Wildcats couldn’t pull out the victory and lost 5-4.
The team needed a win to help maintain their rank in the regional polls in their next game against Midwestern State. After the Lady Indians scored two runs in the first inning, senior Katie Bryan hit a solo home run in the bottom of the inning. Heading into the seventh inning, the women were down one run with a runner on second base and only one out. The Wildcats failed to get the tying run, lost 4-3 and were eliminated from the tournament.
ACU had success against both teams in the regular season, but couldn’t come up with the wins this weekend.
“We just got behind too early in both games and fell short on gaining enough ground,” head coach Chantiel Wilson said.
The Wildcats’ early tournament departure won’t help with their bid, but the team might still have some hope in making it to regionals.
“There is still something that could happen in the next week,” Wilson said. “The RMAC conference tournament is this weekend, so depending on what happens there will determine a lot on who gets the six regional slots.”
The Wildcats’ season was a great improvement from last year. The team’s record is 30-20, compared to 20-30 at the end of last season. Senior Katie Bryan batted over .400 with 15 home runs and pitcher Jennifer Leal had a 21-win season. The Wildcats also made the conference tournament for the first time since 2001.
“I am proud of the players and how they fought this year,” Wilson said.
Now all the team can do is wait until the regional tournament teams are announced.