The announcement of playoff pairing for the NCAA Division III softball tournament were announced and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, La Verne and Redlands are all in, Now let’s hope the teams do a little better than last year when the same three got in to the same six-team regional and they were THE first three teams eliminated.
La Verne got the automatic bid by winning the SCIAC tournament. That looked like it was going to knock Redlands out of the running because few believed the SCIAC was going to get three teams in again this year and CMS seemed like a sure bet because it beat Redlands head-to-head in three of four meetings,. And it should have won the other game too.
Redlands coach Laurie Nevarez seemed to think her team’s chances weren’t good, and said as much after her team lost the SCIAC title game to La Verne.
But after all that the Bulldogs might have the best draw of the three local teams, who are headed to separate venues.
La Verne got the short end of the deal. But then again it was third to the other two in the regular season. The Leopards (27-18) will play at Louisiana College and face the host team in its opener. Louisiana (41-6) also happens to be ranked first in the country. No. 2 Texas-Tyler and No. 10 East Texas Baptist are in the same field. That’s a tall order!
CMS will be off Simpson College in Iowa. The Athenas are seeded fourth and will face fifth-seed Central (Iowa). Going by the rankings, the biggest obstacle looks like No. 8 Linfield, Ore. Central is No. 15 while host Simpson is No. 14.
Redlands will play in an eight-team regional at Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Bulldogs (32-120 will face Augustana, Ill. in its first game. That shouldn’t be an overwhemling task for a team with considerable playoff experience. No. 5 Luther (Iowa) is the highest ranked team in the group.