Austin, Texas – The St. Mary’s softball team is left to hope the voters believe they deserve to be in the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament.
Following a strong season in which the Rattlers claimed their 11th Heartland Conference championship in 12 years, St. Mary’s fell to St. Edward’s, 2-0, in Saturday’s Heartland Conference Tournament championship game in Austin, Texas.
The victory gave the Hilltoppers the automatic bid into the regional tournament, and leaves St. Mary’s eyeing an at-large bid.
St. Edward’s (29-19) struck once in the first inning and again in the second inning against St. Mary’s (34-19), but the Rattlers’ offense never could mount a counter-attack.
They managed just four hits in the game, two of which came from the bat of centerfielder Katie Nichols (Jr., San Marcos, Texas), who went 2 for 3 at the plate.
Emily Brittain (So., Corpus Christi, Texas), the two-time reigning Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Year, was tagged with the loss, falling to 16-5 on the season.
Brittain was one of five Rattlers named to the All-Tournament Team, where she was joined by catcher Christina Rodriguez (Jr., San Antonio), Nichols, third baseman Nicole Sardelich (Fr., Angleton, Texas) and utility player Alex Garcia (Jr., San Antonio).
St. Mary’s swept the regular-season series with St. Edward’s, outscoring the Hilltoppers 27-6. But that didn’t matter in the tournament, as St. Edward’s got the best of the Rattlers twice to win the tournament.
Now, St. Mary’s is hoping a season that included a victory over No. 1-ranked Angelo State is enough to sway the voters to put it back in the South Central Regional for the 11th time in 12 years.