Softball: TWU tapped to co-host NCAA regional

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Members of the TWU softball team and fans watch the televised NCAA selection show Monday morning just before it was announced that TWU will co-host the NCAA Division II South Central Regional tournament this weekend along with West Texas A&M.

After winning their first Lone Star Conference tournament championship, the TWU Pioneers received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II tournament. On Monday, TWU was selected to co-host the South Central Region tournament this weekend at Pioneer Field as the top seed.

“It’s really exciting to see your name come up there first as a No. 1 seed and everything that comes with that,” TWU coach Richie Bruister said. “It’s just a testament to how our team finished this year. It’s a great honor and I’m excited for the kids. Being able to host and have the home-field advantage is a nice accomplishment for the work the girls have done this year.”

The Pioneers will face No. 8 seed Incarnate Word at 7 p.m. Friday in the opening round of their four-team, double-elimination bracket. The winner will play the winner between St. Mary’s and Midwestern State at 2 p.m. Saturday. The winner of that game will advance to play the survivor of the losers’ bracket at 2 p.m. Sunday.

West Texas A&M will host the other South Central Region bracket as the No. 2 seed. No. 3 Colorado School of Mines, No. 6 Angelo State and No. 7 St. Edward’s will join the Lady Buffs in Canyon.

“In my opinion, we are a top-two region in the country and it’s winner take all,” Bruister said. “I’m expected huge crowds, and this area is big softball country. The fans need to take advantage of this and feel what it’s like. We hope this opportunity will keep coming. I love this time of year, and now you get the rewards of the postseason.”

The Pioneers defeated Cameron 2-1 on Friday, Midwestern State 10-7 on Saturday and host West Texas A&M 7-2 in the championship game Sunday. TWU also defeated West Texas A&M in the final series of the season to claim their first regular-season LSC title.

With two LSC championships in their pockets this season, the Pioneers have the experience to make a deep run.

“This is the third regionals for our seniors and everybody has been to regionals,” Bruister said. “I think all of the other teams do too, so I think we aren’t at a disadvantage. I think the pressure of winning conference was off of us and it was a nice feeling to be relaxed. We are going to take the same mindset and do the same thing.”

The winners of the two regional brackets will advance to the May 17-18 super regionals. The national finals will be held May 23-27 at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va.

PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.


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