Chase to Chattanooga; Lady Buffs gear up for Super Regionals

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 5:55 PM CDT
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CANYON, Texas (KFDA) - The West Texas A&M Lady Buffs softball team, the 2014 and 2021 national champions, are looking to win it all, again.

For the Lady Buffs, the NCAA tournament journey started with the South Central Regional tournament, and they even got a chance to host part of it at Schaeffer Park. West Texas A&M took round one over Cameron, 11-5, and round two over No. 7 Colorado Christian, 5-4.

Headed into the finale, they were faced once more with the Colorado Christian Cougars.

They ended up eliminating the Cougars with a 10-0 shutout in a rescheduled finale on Sunday to advance, and West Texas A&M is now one step closer.

“After getting to play a whole seven-inning game against the once, I feel like we were really able to prepare for them a second time. Then, we had to wait a day because of the rain, so I feel like we were just really eager to play too. We really wanted to come out strong, and we really just wanted to take that first game from them and take advantage of the double elimination bracket,” West Texas A&M Lady Buffs senior Emilee Wilson said.

Now, West Texas A&M set their sights on No. 3 ranked and Lone Star Conference tournament champions- the UT Tyler Patriots for the Super Regionals. In the regular season, the Patriots swept the Lady Buffs in a three-game series (5-2, 6-5, 6-1).

However, the Lady Buffs feel they have grown significantly since that match up.

“I think anytime you play a good team it’s kind of an eye opener as to what it takes. The approach that I’ve seen so far this week, I really like it. We’re in a very business-like approach, people are coming in and getting the work they need to get in and getting it done well. I think we learned stuff since the first time we played them. We’ve just got to be prepared, we got to be ready, and we got to bring our ‘A game,” West Texas A&M softball head coach Michael Mook said.

“We’ve had our highs and lows just like any other team and UT Tyler has been on a high and riding the high. I think that we’ve honestly had the opportunity to get punched in the mouth, and so we may have a little bit more grit than they are ready for, so I think that is going to give us an edge. Just the prep that we have put in all season and trusting that is what it’s going to take for us and continuing to come together as a team and not having that loosing mentality, but a winning mindset,” West Texas A&M junior Braeland Booth said.

The West Texas A&M softball program is no stranger to the postseason.

No other Division II softball team has won multiple national championships since 2007 besides the Lady Buffs.

Combining both the talent and experience is going to be crucial for the West Texas A&M on their chase to Chattanooga.

“This time a year, everyone just has to be fully bought in. It takes that all year, but especially now that school is done and it’s just like we’re here, we’re playing, it takes every single person. Whether you’re on the field, on the bench, manager, coaches, if everyone buys in, good things are going to happen,” Wilson said.

“The biggest thing for us is to just be normal, and play like what we’re capable of. We’re a good softball team, we’ve worked hard, and we’ve done a lot of preparing. We just have to come out, relax, breathe, and just be normal, and we are going to be just fine,” Coach Mook said.

UT Tyler will host the Super Regional series at Suddenlink Field since they are the higher seed.

It is a best two out of three series with game one on Thursday, May 18th at 4:00 p.m., game two will be Friday, May 19th at 3:00 p.m., and if necessary, a game three to follow at 5:30 p.m.