It’s no contest for Mavs, who will celebrate at Super Regional tourney
When they play “Pomp and Circumstance” and call the roll during Mesa State College’s graduation ceremony Saturday, there will be four no-shows.
Meagan Hennessy, Jamie Prather, Kristen Silva and Jessica Rayman wouldn’t have it any other way.
The four graduating seniors on the Mesa State softball team will be in Winona, Minn., preparing to play the second game of the NCAA Division II Super Regional 3 tournament against Winona State University.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better in my senior year,” Hennessy, the starting catcher, said Sunday after the Mavs won their half of the Central Region bracket 10-6 over CSU-Pueblo in Denver.
“I don’t care if I don’t get to walk next week. Not at all. It’s OK. We don’t care at all. We’ll bring our caps and gowns and take our picture in uniform.
“I’ll still get my diploma in the mail. They’ve got to give it to me.”
Hennessy’s parents live in Billings, Mont., and are regulars at Mesa State games, so instead of heading south to Grand Junction, they’ll head east to Winona, which is in southeast Minnesota.
Mesa State (30-19) plays at No. 6 Winona State (47-11) Friday through Sunday at Alumni Field in Winona. Game 1 is Friday at 1 p.m. (MST), with Game 2 on Saturday afternoon. A third game, if necessary, is at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The winner of the best-of-three series advances to the NCAA Division II World Series from May 21-25 in Salem, Va.
After the game ended Sunday, the players whose parents weren’t at the regional tournament were on the phone, helping them make plans.
Silva, whose parents live in Kahului, Hawaii, didn’t know where the next stop was.
“We’ve got to figure out where we’re going,” the Mavs’ starting left fielder said after talking with her parents. “Minnesota? You’re sure? I’d better tell them they’ve got to fly to somewhere in Minnesota.”
Silva’s parents already had their plane tickets to Grand Junction, so they, along with right fielder Prather’s parents, who are from Lancaster, Calif., were changing their plans.
“The parents are going to just get a plane ticket to wherever we play instead,” Prather said, grinning.
Rayman, whose parents can fly out of Denver (she’s from Louisville), started all three games of the regional tournament and will likely get the ball in Game 1 against Winona. She, like the others, isn’t upset she’ll miss the graduation ceremony.
“I’m still gonna graduate,” she said. “That’s boring, anyway, you hear how many people’s names get called? Playing softball is so much better.”