The St. Mary’s University Rattlers will host the six-team South Central Regional of the 2002 NCAA Division II Softball National Tournament. The regional tournament will be held at the Rattler Softball Field on Thursday to Sunday, May 9-12.
St. Mary’s, ranked eighth in the final regular season USA Today/NFCA Division II national poll and first in the region, is the top seed in the 2002 South Central Regional. Joining the Rattlers are #2 Mesa State (16th in national poll), #3 Texas A&M-Kingsville), #4 Texas Woman’s (15th in national poll), #5 Central Oklahoma and #6 Regis.
Nationally 48 teams advanced to eight regional tournament sites. The winners of each regional tournament will advance to the championship round of the national tournament, May 16-20, in Salem, Va.
The St. Mary’s University Rattlers (49-10) won the Heartland Conference regular season and tournament titles. In the process they dominated the Heartland Conference 2002 post-season honors. Kim Kling (SO – P/1B) was named Player of the Year, Veronica Garcia (FR – 3B) was named Freshman of the Year, and Coach Donna Fields was named Coach of the Year. Amanda Bayless (JR – P),Natalie Hill (SR – SS), Jessica Jimenez (SR – 2B), Tanya Medina (SR – OF) and Pam Salinas (SO – OF) joined them on the All-Conference team.
The Mesa State College Mavericks (48-11) were the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular season champs and the RMAC Tournament runners-up. Five Mavericks were named to the RMAC All-Tournament Team: Laurette Ortiz (JR – C), Melinda Young (JR – IF), Jamie Dunn (SR – IF), Sara Hudson (FR – OF) and Renee Hietbrink (JR – P).
The Texas A&M University Javalinas (43-16) won the Lone Star Conference Tournament after finishing second in the LSC South Division. Three TAMUK players were named to the All-LSC South Division First Team: Maria Gutierrez (SR – P), Sarah Norman (JR – 1B) and Amanda Sustaita (SR – 2B). Gutierrez was selected as LSC South Pitcher of the Year.
The Texas Woman’s University Pioneers (43-13) finished third in the LSC Tournament after winning the LSC South crown. Brittany Wilson (FR – P), Monica Romero (SR – C) and Sascha Taylor (JR – OF) were selected for the All-LSC South Division first squad. Wilson was named LSC South Freshman of the Year and Taylor was named LSC South Newcomer of the Year. Pioneer skipper Dianne Baker was tapped as LSC South Coach of the Year.
The University of Central Oklahoma (34-14) came second in the LSC Tournament after finish second in the LSC North Division. LSC North first team honors went to April Ferrall (JR – C), Jennifer Chavira (SR – 1B), Shauna Perry (SO – SS) and Julie Cyr (JR – OF). Chavira was named LSC North Newcomer of the Year.
The Regis University Rangers (37-19) won the RMAC Tournament after finishing as the regular season runners-up. Sophomore pitcher Jennifer Hayashi was named the RMAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Joining her on the RMAC All-Tournament team were Rebecca Marianetti (JR – IF), Rebekah Tippets (SR – OF), Erin Christianson (SR – OF), Christina Wade (SO – P/IB), and Stacia Buda (SO – DP).