Mavs holding out hope for regional spot

Now they wait.

The Mesa State College softball team knocked four teams ranked ahead of them in the Central Region out of the RMAC softball tournament over the weekend, and today the
Mavericks will see if it was enough to vault them from 10th in the region into the top eight.

If the regional rating committee deems the Mavs’ late-season play (14-4 since April 10) was enough to move up, they’ll be assigned to one of two sub-regional tournaments.

The top two teams in the region, Winona State of the Northern Sun Conference and Metro State of the RMAC, won their respective conference tournaments and will likely host sub-regionals May 8-10.

The Roadrunners (40-10) ended the Mavs’ run with an 8-0 victory in the championship game Saturday after the Mavericks (27-19) eliminated Colorado School of Mines 7-3 to reach the final game.

“We kinda quit hitting a little bit,” Mesa State coach Kris Mort said of the title game. “We hit
really well (Saturday morning) against Mines, really handled them pretty well through the whole game. We dominated every inning.”

Mines entered the tournament as the No. 3 team in the regional rankings. The Mavs’ win over the Orediggers put the teams at 3-3 this season — they split the four-game regular-season series and Mines won the RMAC tournament opener 4-0.

Mesa State also won elimination games against Adams State, ranked 9th in the region, Colorado State University-Pueblo (6th) and Regis University (7th) over the weekend.

When they finally got to the title game, the Mavericks’ hot bats were cooled off by Christie Robinson, who scattered four hits in the five-inning game. She struck out three and didn’t walk a batter to improve to 25-4.

Jessica Rayman, who picked up the win against the Orediggers, started against Metro State, but she tired early, giving up four runs on five hits in 21/3 innings.

“We decided to throw Ray and keep them off-speed,” Mort said. “She threw quite a bit (Friday) and the whole game this morning and she ran out of gas a little bit. She was falling behind and gave up some hits, so we went to Sara (Jordan), but by that time it was kind of ugly.”

The Roadrunners hit two home runs to tie Mesa State’s Division II single-season home run record of 98, set in 2001. Once that happened, Mort wasn’t about to give up another long ball.

“I started having Sara throw drop balls to keep the ball down and get ground balls, and she did,” Mort said. “We kept it in the park. Since that was our record, I didn’t want to be the one to give it up. I didn’t want to give up the championship and the record all in one day.”

Jamie Prather hit a pair of home runs against Mines and Lauren Cross added another to push the Mavs into the title game.

Prather, Jordan and Rayman made the all-tournament team.

As soon as the Mavs got on the bus, the players started asking what’s next.

In the Northern Sun, fourth-ranked Minneosta State-Mankato went 0-2, fifth-ranked Wayne State went 3-2, falling to tournament runner-up Southwest Minneosta State in the losers’ bracket final, and No. 8 Concordia-St. Paul went 0-2.

Southwest Minnesota State is not ranked in the top 10 in the region, despite winning the regular-season conference title.

“We hope we’re in,” Mort said. “I think we’ve played our way in, but I don’t know. We beat four teams above us and knocked them out of the tournament.

“I hope they take a look at our record against the top 10 the past two weeks. We went 4-2 against top-10 (regional) teams this week. It’s a good comeback for this team. They deserve to get in.”


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