CANYON, Texas – It’s not often that a softball team can feel great about drawing the top-seeded team of a tournament at their home stadium.
And while St. Mary’s undoubtedly entered the NCAA Division II South Central #2 Region Tournament with a great deal of respect for its opponent, No. 1-seeded West Texas A&M, the Lady Rattlers at least knew they had a chance heading into the first round of the double-elimination tournament.
On the heels of taking two of three games against West Texas A&M in the regular season, the fourth-seeded Lady Rattlers stunned them again Friday, winning 2-1 in the opening round of the regional tournament.
St. Mary’s moves on to the winner’s bracket, where it will face No. 2 Nebraska-Omaha at 2 p.m. Saturday. With a win, the Lady Rattlers would automatically advance to the title game, held Sunday at 2 p.m. A loss would mean they have to play at 7 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game.
It was seniors Lauren Miller (Sr., Baytown, Texas) and Chelsea Wenske (Sr., Victoria, Texas) leading the way for St. Mary’s in Friday’s critical victory.
Stuck in a scoreless game in the top of the seventh inning, Wenske drove in the go-ahead run on a one-out single, and Miller followed with another RBI single for some cushion. West Texas A&M countered with a run in the bottom of the frame, but it wasn’t enough against the Lady Rattlers.
Crystal Keller (So., La Coste, Texas) came in relief and picked up the victory, allowing one run in 2.1 innings to improve to 4-3 on the season.