By Chandler Harris, Assistant Sports Editor
The softball team traveled to San Antonio on Thursday for the St. Mary’s Invitational tournament. The team played its first of the weekend’s five games on Thursday against Rollins University. Results were unavailable by press time.
Thursday’s game was the Wildcats’ first game of the 2009 season.
“Going in, it’s always hard because everyone is nervous the first game,” said head coach Chantiel Wilson. “We have to realize it’s [the] first weekend of the season, and that there is a lot more time before conference play begins. We just need to get our game working.”
Wilson said it would be beneficial to see the Wildcat hitters against different pitchers than their own teammates. It will give them a better understanding of how they are doing and what they need to work on.
ACU will face five opponents in the tournament: Rollins University, Texas A&M-International, Washburn, Cameron and Midwestern State.
“Rollins University was regional runner-up last season, and just one game away from the national tournament,” Wilson said. “They have both of their best pitchers returning from last season,and they have some good hitters coming back as well.”
The team will play Texas A&M-International Friday at 11:15 a.m. and Washburn at 3:45 p.m.
Washburn also made it to the regional tournament last season. Texas A&M-International is in the second year of its program but had a strong team last season that the Wildcats defeated 2-1 in eight innings, Wilson said.
On Friday, ACU will play Cameron at 9 a.m. and Midwestern State at 1:30 p.m.
“Cameron can always hit the ball, and Midwestern State is returning the preseason pitcher of the year,” Wilson said. “We like to go to San Antonio because we get to play good teams that will make us stronger in the end.”
ACU was voted as the second-place team in the LSC preseason poll. Angelo State received 123 points to nab first-place honors.
“It’s a good thing for our program,” Wilson said. “We are respected in that way, but we understand it comes down to how you finish in April. The players earned that ranking with last year’s play, but this year’s play will determine whether we go on or not.”