Regional tournament preview

By Doug Fitzgerald published May 5, 2004

SAN ANTONIO - There were many familiar faces when the participants of the NCAA Division II Southwest Regional Softball Tournament gathered at St. Mary's University for the annual pre-event meetings. There was also one unexpected party crasher.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs joined the field of six for the first time by winning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament this past weekend. Now that the Mountain Lions have finally gotten here, they are resolved to prove that they belong.

CU-Colorado Springs (35-11) rolled through the RMAC, posting a 23-3 conference record and was 12th nationally with a .334 batting average. Catcher Crystal Krebs came into the regionals second in the nation in batting average and home runs and fifth in RBI. One pitcher, Brenna Pool, was named RMAC pitcher of the year and the other, Amber Colton, was most valuable pitcher at the RMAC tournament. Jennifer Dykstra not only hit .417, but also turned in the best defensive season of any CU-Colorado Springs player with only seven errors despite playing shortstop.

Nevertheless, until the Mountain Lions face Midwestern State at 11 a.m. Thursday, there will be lingering doubt about whether they belong on a stage this large. After all, they've never played at this level before. In fact, before this season they had qualified for the RMAC tournament only twice and had won only a single game. With that in mind, there's little wonder why the rest of the regional field views the newcomers with haughty suspicion.

St. Mary's (44-10) is hosting the tournament, an honor given the team with the highest regional ranking, for the third straight year. The Lady Rattlers have won the South Central region the past three years and won the national championship in 2002. They were 11th nationally in hitting at .335 and posted a sparkling 1.40 ERA.

No. 2 seed Angelo State (40-10) is first of four qualifiers from the powerful Lone Star Conference. The Rambelles hit .326 with 35 home runs, but it is their running game that is most feared, as their 127 stolen bases can attest. They also posted an imposing 1.72 ERA.

Texas Woman's (40-13) was a near mirror image of Angelo State both in record (40-13) and statistically. The Pioneers hit .319 and stole 118 bases while putting up a 2.02 ERA. They are the tournament's No. 3 seed.

CU-Colorado Springs' first-round opponent will be Midwestern State (31-14). The Lady Indians play a station-to-station game, having stolen only 31 bases this season. While they hit just .279, their pitching was often dominant, allowing two or fewer runs in 28 of their 45 games this season.

Rounding out the field is Tarleton State (28-15), which beat CU-Colorado Springs 7-3 in Las Vegas, Nev., on Feb. 8. The TexAnns had the highest ERA of the competitors at 3.30, but had a strong offense (.339 batting average).


INFORMATION
Updates on the regional tournament can be found by clicking on the "Softball Regional Tournament" link on the main page and the softball page. That link will take you to www.stmarytx.edu/softball. Mountain Lions games will be reported in depth on the CU-Colorado Springs athletics Web site at www.uccs.edu/athletic.


NCAA DIVISION II SOUTHWEST REGIONAL
SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Thursday, May 6
Game 1, 11:00 a.m. - No. 4 CU-Colorado Springs vs. No. 5 Midwestern State
Game 2, 1:30 p.m. - No. 3 Texas Woman's vs. No. 6 Tarleton State
Game 3, 4:00 p.m. - No. 1 St. Mary's vs. Winner Game 1
Game 4, 6:30 p.m. - No. 2 Angelo State vs. Winner Game 2

Friday, May 7
Game 5, 11:00 a.m. - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 6, 1:30 p.m. - Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 3
Game 7, 4:00 p.m. - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Game 8, 6:30 p.m. - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6

Saturday, May 8
Game 9, 1:00 p.m. - Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8
Game 10, 3:30 p.m. - Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9

Sunday, May 9
Game 11 (if needed), 1:00 p.m. - Winner Game 10 vs. Loser Game 10


TEAM PROFILES
No. 1 - St. Mary's
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Founded: 1852
Enrollment: 4,300
Nickname: Lady Rattlers
Conference: Heartland

No. 2 - Angelo State
Location: San Angelo, Texas
Founded: 1928
Enrollment: 6,200
Nickname: Rambelles
Conference: Lone Star

No. 3 - Texas Woman's
Location: Denton, Texas
Founded: 1901
Enrollment: 9,705
Nickname: Pioneers
Conference: Lone Star

No. 4 - CU-Colorado Springs
Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Founded: 1965
Enrollment: 7,640
Nickname: Mountain Lions
Conference: Rocky Mountain Athletic

No. 5 - Midwestern State
Location: Wichita Falls, Texas
Founded: 1922
Enrollment: 6,480
Nickname: Lady Indians
Conference: Lone Star

No. 6 - Tarleton State
Location: Stephenville, Texas
Founded: 1899
Enrollment: 8,030
Nickname: TexAnns
Conference: Lone Star

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Amber ColtonAmber Colton2PSr.
Amber ColtonAmber Colton2PJr.
Amber ColtonAmber Colton2PSo.
Jennifer DykstraJennifer Dykstra10SSSo.
Jennifer DykstraJennifer Dykstra10SSJr.
Jennifer DykstraJennifer Dykstra10SSSr.
Brenna PoolBrenna Pool9IF/PJr.
Brenna PoolBrenna Pool9P/OFSr.
Additional News Stories
December 27, 2004Peterson reloads with strong recruiting classFaced with the loss of seven seniors after this season, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball coach Scott Peterson knew that the 2004 and 2005 recruiting classes would be pivotal in carrying forward the national ranking that the current Mountain Lions worked so hard to earn.
October 18, 2004Renovation of softball field beginsThe first step of what promises to be a major upgrade of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball facility began Monday when team members began painting the bleachers at what used to be Four-Diamonds Sports Complex's Red Field.
September 30, 2004Fall ball shows that Lions are loadedCollegiate softball's fall season operates much like pro football's preseason. The games don't count in the standings, so the primary goal is to evaluate talent for the upcoming spring season. After 17 games of evaluation, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs can be assured of one thing concerning its 2005 softball team.
June 2, 2004Softball finishes 10th nationallyTo the long string of firsts attained by the 2004 University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team, add one more.A Top-10 national ranking.The Mountain Lions finished the season ranked 10th in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II poll, which was released Wednesday. The NFCA is responsible for the official softball rankings of the NCAA.CU-Colorado Springs was unranked until the final poll. The Mountain Lions, however, gained national notice by knocking off three nationally ranked teams at the South Central regional tournament on their way to a second-place finish. That the South Central regional winner, Angelo State, went on to win the national championship also helped CU-Colorado Springs in the voting.
May 17, 2004Powerful recruiting class bolsters Mountain LionsIf the coaches in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the Southwest Region thought the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' run to the RMAC title and the regional championship game was a one-time fluke, they'll need to reevaluate that assessment. Not only did the Mountain Lions graduate no seniors, but they also will get back a star pitcher and have signed one of the strongest recruiting classes in school history.
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