Cal State softball team gets regional bid

The Cal State San Bernardino softball team is back in the NCAA playoffs for the only the second time and the first since 2008.

The seventh-seeded Coyotes (32-22) are headed to Kaneohe, Hawaii and will open play Friday against second-seeded and defending national champion Hawaii Pacific (37-10).

There will be two four-team double-elimination West Regionals, one hosted by Hawaii Pacific and the other by Chico State. The teams that emerge from each of those competitions will square off in a best-of-three series.

“We’re excited,” Coyotes coach Tacy Duncan <NO1>name is right <NO>said. “Our conference is very tough, so we feel like that has really prepared us for the postseason.”

The Coyotes played the Sea Warriors, winners of the Pacific West Conference, on April 2 in a tournament on a neutral field and Hawaii Pacific emerged with an 8-6 win. Having seen the opponent is reason for Duncan to be optimistic.

“We played them in a close game and we didn’t even use our best pitcher,” Duncan said while referring to senior Cassidy Lee. “She has been pitching great and we’re confident with her out there.”

Cal State, led by All-CCAA selections Priscilla Curiel, Jacquelyn Holtzclaw, Jamie Leffingwell and Brittney Butler, is one of four teams from the CCAA to advance.

Sonoma State (36-20) is in the same bracket with the Coyotes and will face Dixie State (33-12) while Chico State (29-17) and UC San Diego (36-13) will compete at Chico. Western Washington (36-14) and Central Washington (33-14) round out the field at Chico.

The only other time the Coyotes competed in the regional they went 2-2 in the tournament held at Humboldt State.