The Gustavus softball team opens NCAA Tournament play on Thursday evening against Central College of Pella, Iowa at 6 pm. The Gusties, the MIAC regular season champions, are the #7 seed, while the Dutch, the IIAC regular season champions, are the #2 seed. The eight-team regional, which will take place Thursday through Sunday, is being played at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. A broadcast of the game is available at this link.
The Gusties will be making their third appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the program’s history. The last appearance was in 2007 when the team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championships in Decorah, Iowa. Coach Jeff Annis and his squad have turned in one of the most successful seasons in program history this year having set the record for wins in a season (35) as well as equaling the mark for conference wins in a season (21). The Gusties have also broken five statistical team records including team batting average (.348), runs scored (286), hits (386), runs batted in (247), and strikeouts registered by the pitching staff (283). Gustavus was scheduled to play Central during the regular season in St. Peter, however the doubleheader was rained out. The Gusties have played three of the eight teams in the regional during the regular season posting a mark of 3-4 against Luther (1-0), UW-La Crosse (1-1), and St. Thomas (1-3). Senior shortstop Rachael Click leads the team in hitting with a .464 average. Click also ranks second in Division III in slugging percentage (0.964) and ninth in home runs per game (0.33 – 14 in 42 games). Other top hitters for the Gusties include first year Lisa Klass (.392), senior Emily Klein (.373), and sophomore Emily Wendorff (.339). On the mound, the Gusties have been led by the trio of Erin Truebenbach (14-3, 1.28 ERA), Betsie Collins (10-3, 1.69 ERA) and Callie Nelsen (11-1, 1.62 ERA). Gustavus is the only team in Division III to have three pitchers register double-digit victories this year.
The Dutch will be making their 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament, however this is their first appearance since 2006. Central won the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season title with a record of 13-3, but were not able to win the IIAC Tournament and as a result received an At-Large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Dutch are led by
first year Rachael Everingham who leads the team in hitting with a .376 mark and 24 RBIs. Senior center fielder Alysha Overturf is hitting .374 and shares the team doubles lead with six and has 22 steals. Third baseman Afton Nelson is hitting .357 with 24 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. On the mound, Megan Swingen leads the way with a 16-1 record and a 1.34 earned run average. Kiley Lythberg is the other starter for Central with a 16-4 record and a 1.37 ERA.
The double elimination tournament begins at noon on Thursday and runs through Sunday. The winner of the regional gains one of eight spots for the NCAA Division III finals May 15-19 at Montclair, N.J.
Indianola Regional Tournament Schedule
Thursday, May 7
12 p.m. – Game 1 – St. Thomas (MN) (39-4) vs. Webster (23-16)
2 p.m. – Game 2 – Wisconsin-La Crosse (34-10) vs. Wartburg (36-6)
4 p.m. – Game 3 – Washington-St. Louis (24-11) vs. Luther (33-9)
6 p.m. – Game 4 – Gustavus Adolphus (35-7) vs. Central (IA) 36-6
Friday, May 8 (schedule TBD based on teams remaining)
12 p.m. – Game 5 -
2 p.m. – Game 6 -
4 p.m. – Game 7 -
6 p.m. – Game 8 -
Saturday, May 9 (schedule TBD based on teams remaining)
12 p.m. – Game 9 -
2 p.m. – Game 10 -
4 p.m. – Game 11 -
6 p.m. – Game 12 -
Sunday, May 10
12 p.m. – Game 13 -
2 p.m. – Game 14 -