Tyler Regional Website
Northwest Conference champion Linfield College (36-6) is one of six teams selected to compete in this week’s double-elimination NCAA Division III regional playoff tournament at the University of Texas-Tyler. Action begins Friday and runs through Sunday at Tyler, Texas, located about 2½ hours east of Dallas.
The other regional competitors include Redlands (34-10), Southwestern of Texas (30-11), East Texas Baptist (34-10), Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (32-11) and host Texas-Tyler (41-4).
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The regional tournament champion advances to compete in the eight-team Division III championship finals. The NCAA Finals are slated for May 17-21 at Carson Park on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Thunderstorms swept through the east Texas region Thursday heading northward from the Gulf of Mexico. Heavy downpours cut short Linfield’s scheduled 4 p.m. practice time by 45 minutes. Lingering thunderstorms are expected to remain through Friday and have necessitated the entire first round schedule being pushed back two hours.
THE FIRST ROUND
After the schedule adjustment due to weather, Linfield is set to begin tournament play Friday at 4 p.m. PDT against the Redlands Bulldogs in an opening-round game. Other first-round matchups include Claremont versus East Texas Baptist at 1:30 PDT and Southwestern against host Texas-Tyler at 11 a.m. PDT.
The Linfield-Redlands winner advances to play the winner of the Claremont-East Texas Baptist game Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The loser is thrust into an elimination game Saturday at 9 a.m. against the winner of the Texas-Tyler-Southwestern game.
TYLER REGIONAL SCHEDULE
(Seeding in parentheses, all times Pacific)
Friday, May 10
Game 1: Texas-Tyler (1) vs. Southwestern (6), 11 a.m.
Game 2: Claremont (2) vs. East Texas Baptist (5), 1:30 p.m.
Game 3: Linfield (3) vs. Redlands (4), 4 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11
Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 1 winner, 9 a.m.
Game 6: Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 11:30 a.m.
Remainder of tournament schedule determined by number of teams remaining.
Texas-Tyler will be providing video webcasts of all regional tournament games. Live statistics will also be available.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Five of the six Tyler Regional combatants are ranked among the nation's Top 25 Division III programs. Texas-Tyler is ranked fifth, Linfield is No. 6, East Texas Baptist is rated ninth, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps is ranked 13th and Redlands is No. 17.
Linfield departed McMinnville Wednesday morning. After a 3½-hour flight to Dallas, the Wildcats bussed another 2½ hours to Tyler. Linfield practiced Thursday afternoon at Texas-Tyler in preparation for Friday’s first-round game.
LINFIELD: Led by 10-time Northwest Conference Coach of the Year, Jackson Vaughan and three-time NCAA Division III All-American Karleigh Prestianni, Linfield secured its 10th consecutive NWC championship by defeating Pacific Lutheran in the final game of the conference tournament. The ‘Cats enter the NCAA regional playoffs with a mark of 36-6, as Vaughan, a two-time National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association National Coach of the Year, improved his career coaching record to 442-99-1 over 12 seasons. Linfield swept the NWC Player, Pitcher and Coach of the Year awards as Prestianni, Karina Paavola (Sr., Kelso, Wash.) and Vaughan were joined by 10 other Wildcats on the all-NWC teams. Sixth-ranked Linfield is dangerous offensively and defensively, outscoring opponents 335-89 while posting a stellar 1.68 team earned run average. Prestianni hit .480 this spring, blasting eight home runs and driving in a team-high 58 runners. Erin Carson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) hit a NWC-best .496 with 56 hits in 113 at bats and played errorless defense in the outfield. Sophomore Lisa Yamamoto (Jr., Carson City, Nev.) led the conference in home runs with 13 and her 56 RBI made her one of three Wildcats with 50 or more. Leadoff hitter Grace Middelstadt (Jr., Battle Ground, Wash.) batted .327 with a team-high 33 stolen bases, and senior Megan Wallo added 18 more steals. As a team, the ‘Cats led the NWC in every major hitting category while striking out just 120 times, fewest in the conference. A glossy .973 fielding percentage was also tops in the NWC as Linfield committed a conference-low 31 errors. Paavola and fellow junior Shelby VandeBergh (Sr., Beaverton, Ore.) dominated from the circle posting records of 22-2 and 12-3, respectively. Paavola struck out an incredible 123 batters in 120 innings while posting a 1.81 ERA. VandeBergh struck out 64 in 86 innings with an ERA of 2.12 and she did not allow a home run. Closer Montana McNealy (Jr., Aloha, Ore.) averaged 1.60 strikeouts for every inning she pitched. Linfield has reached in the NCAA championship game each of the past three seasons, claiming two national crowns in the previous six seasons (2007 and 2011).
TEXAS-TYLER: The fifth-ranked Patriots lost in the American Southwest Conference title game to No. 10 East Texas Baptist, yet still finished the 2013 regular season with an outstanding record of 41-4. In his 10th season at the helm of the Texas-Tyler program, head coach Mike Reed guided the Patriots to the most wins across NCAA Division III schools (41), and improved his career record within the program to 323-85. The Patriots kicked off the 2013 season with a bang, winning their first 11 games before posting winning streaks of nine and 20 and collecting six mercy rule-shortened wins along the way. The Patriots outscored opponents 352-82, and their whopping .363 team batting average and .449 on-base percentage suggest the team’s success has come thanks to its offensive clout. ASC East Division Player of the Year Joey Cronin and all-conference first teamer Brittney Batten did the bulk of the lifting offensively. The senior duo each hit eight home runs and were the team’s top two hitters at .472 and .415, respectively. Senior second-teamer Ashley Endsley added six homers and led the team with 47 RBI, and Raven Rodriguez burst onto the scene with a .345 average and six home runs to earn the conference freshman of the year award. ASC East Pitcher of the Year Kelsie Batten and second-teamer Heather Abshire combined to start all but one game and compiled a cumulative record of 39-3. Batten posted an ERA of 1.09 while striking out 76 batters and walking just 18 in 141 2/3 innings pitched. Abshire posted a similarly impressive 1.60 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings.
CLAREMONT-MUDD-SCRIPPS (Calif.): Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship for the second consecutive season behind eighth-year head coach Betsy Hipple (189-52). The Athenas have won five games in a row and 12 of 13 to finish the 2013 regular season on a roll. Senior Harmony Palmer posted an enviable .500 average on the season with a team-high 64 hits in 128 at bats and sophomore Marie Bradvica hit .374 and led the team in RBI with 46. SCIAC Rookie of the Year Katie Savard hit .393 with three home runs and 35 RBI for Claremont and fellow freshman Mikayla O’Neal posted a .320 average with three homers and 20 RBI. The Athenas’ strength comes from their small-ball game, as the club hit just nine home runs yet led the SCIAC in stolen bases with 72. As a team, Claremont reached base at a clip of .404, thanks in large part to a conference-best 134 walks. Defensively, the Athenas led the SCIAC in fielding percentage (.972) and committed just 34 errors, by far the fewest in the conference. Junior catcher Morgan Beltz kept runners at bay, allowing just 16 stolen bases and committing only three errors all season. Sophomore Hayley Schultz threw 184 1/3 innings from the circle, striking out 105 batters against just 25 walks and compiling a conference-best record of 25-3. Shannon O’Neill threw 66 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA, as she, Schultz (1.37) and Molly Rubidoux (3.50) combined for a team ERA of just 2.06. Schultz also co-led the conference in complete games with 22.
REDLANDS (Calif.): Behind Southern California Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year Kayla Uphold’s 23 wins in the circle and first-teamer Sarah Beeman’s team-high .444 average at the plate, No. 18 Redlands cruised to a 34-10 regular season record in 2013. Coach Laurie Nevarez led the Bulldogs to seven consecutive conference titles between 2005 and 2011, compiling a 283-104-1 record along the way. As a team the Bulldogs hit .322 and posted an on-base percentage of .395 while stealing 48 bases and scoring 236 runs. Midway through the season, Redlands embarked on a 16-game winning streak during which it outscored opponents 105-33 and posted four consecutive shutouts to close out the regular season. Redlands was limited to just seven home runs on the season, showing that its strength lies within its small-ball approach and its stellar 2.07 team ERA in the circle. Uphold is a dual threat as the Bulldogs’ ace went 23-8 while striking out 106 with an ERA of 1.41, and also hit .373 with 16 runs scored in 83 at bats. Junior Amanda Clark hit .333 and led the team with 14 stolen bases, drawing 24 walks and striking out just seven times in a team-high 166 plate appearances. Beeman led the team in runs (39), hits (63), doubles (9), triples (9), home runs (3), and RBI (42), and A.J. Carrasco hit .347 with eight stolen bases and 24 runs scored for the Bulldogs.
EAST TEXAS BAPTIST: The Tigers beat Linfield in dramatic fashion in the 2010 NCAA Division III national championship game and appear capable of hoising another championship behind sixth-year coach Janae Schlabs-Shirley (169-62). ETBU recently captured the 2013 American Southwest Conference Tournament championship with a victory over conference rival Texas-Tyler, despite finishing second in the standings with a conference record of 18-6. The Tigers got off to a hot start in 2013, winning their first 11 games and outscoring opponents 92-15 during the streak. Junior Lacy Liles led East Texas Baptist with a .423 batting average and topped the squad in almost every offensive category, garnering first-team all-American Southwest Conference honors. Fellow first-teamer Maranda Westbrook hit .352 with 27 runs scored and just one strikeout in 105 at bats. The sophomore infielder led ETBU with 19 stolen bases. Within the ASC conference, only Texas Lutheran (101) stole more bases than the Tigers’ total of 90 and only Texas-Tyler (39) hit more home runs than ETBU’s 30. The combination of power and speed makes the Tigers’ offense a two-headed monster with ETBU outscoring opponents 284-111. The Tigers enter the postseason riding a seven-game win streak.
SOUTHWESTERN (Texas): After wrapping up its fifth Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference crown in six years, Southwestern heads into the postseason having won three games in a row and six of its last seven. The Pirates finished the regular season with a record of 34-11 overall and 13-3 in SCAC play behind veteran coach Angela Froboese. The sixth-year skipper has compiled an overall record of 141-73 and was voted SCAC co-Coach of the Year in 2010. Offensively, it is sophomore standout Stacy Rosengren who is most productive for Southwestern, batting .355 with a team-high 12 home runs and 55 RBI. Senior catcher Abigail O’Connor led the team in batting at a clip of .427 and stole 10 bases, and junior shortstop Karen Ramirez hit .401 and swiped a team-high 13 bags. As a team, the Pirates led the conference in home runs (33), walks (108), hits (461) and runs scored while outscoring opponents 326-159. Freshman Kelsey Kingston handled the bulk of the pitching duties, producing a 24-5 record with 182 strikeouts in 211 innings with an ERA of 2.32. Junior Kayla Irvin was the only other Pirate to step into the circle as she struck out 48 batters over the other 62 1/3 innings on the season.
Base-stealing skill adds an extra dimension for the 'Cats
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