Mavs 16th in softball
From where they were to where they ended up says a lot about how the Mesa State College softball players grew this season.
In April, they challenged themselves to “play to May,” hoping to reach the RMAC tournament. By winning 10 of their final 12 games, they reached May, and once they did that, the Mavericks were a completely different team.
Monday, the Mavericks found out they finished the season ranked No. 16 in the nation. Not bad for a team that barely slipped into its own conference tournament.
“It’s funny, before the poll came out (Monday) I was thinking about it, sometimes talent gets overrated and chemistry gets underrated,” Mesa State coach Kris Mort said.
“Sometimes you throw the term around loosely, they think they have chemistry. This team recognized midway through the season that liking each other and hanging out with each other led to having that chemistry. They got to where they needed to be, I respect your game and you respect my game. They really turned the corner. It’s a great payout for the girls and what they accomplished.”
Mesa State finished the season 30-21, losing twice to Winona (Minn.) State University in the NCAA Division II Super Regionals. Winona State finished the season ranked No. 5 in the nation. Metro State, which won the RMAC regular-season and tournament championship, but went 0-2 in the regional playoffs, losing to Mesa State in the first round, dropped out of the top 25.
The national ranking gives the Mavericks plenty to build on and plenty to live up to next season.
“There are a lot of good things I learned from this team and likewise will always be part of that foundation and tradition of Mesa State softball,” Mort said. “Next year’s team isn’t 16th in the nation starting out. We’ll have a good ranking and be looked upon favorably but we still have to build it every year. This is a unique and special team.”
She’ll count on the returning players to instill the same belief in chemistry to the newcomers in the fall, but said the Mavs won’t rest on their ranking.
“It’s nice to see that they really put some credence to what chemistry really means,” she said. “They deserve it and should enjoy it. Until next year, we are who we are and we’ll train the next group to keep that in mind.”