The Edmond Sun
No. 12-ranked Central Oklahoma received an at-large bid into the NCAA Division II Softball Championship Monday morning and will travel to Hays, Kan. this weekend for the Central Region I Tournament.
The Bronchos, 42-11 on the season, are the No. 4 seed in the eight-team Central Region that is split into two four-team tournaments this weekend.
In the Central Region I Tournament that starts Friday in Hays, UCO will go against fifth-seeded Minot State (40-9) at 3 p.m. before top-seeded and host Fort Hays State (45-10) takes on Emporia State (38-18) at 5:30 p.m.
The tournament continues Saturday with the winner’s bracket finals at 1 p.m., followed by elimination games at 3:30 and 6 p.m. Sunday’s finals are set for 1 p.m., with the “if necessary” game at 3:30 p.m.
The Central Region II Tournament will be held in Mankato, Minn., with No. 2 seed Southeastern Oklahoma playing seventh-seeded Winona State and third-seeded and host Minnesota State-Mankato meeting No. 6 Augustana in the first round.
Winners of the two sub-regionals meet in a best-of-three series May 16-18 for a berth in the Division II World Series, which is set for May 23-27 in Salem, Va.
“We’re excited about being in the national tournament again and are looking forward to competing in what should be a great regional,” said head coach Genny Stidham, who is 466-289-2 in her 16th year at the UCO helm. “We didn’t play up to our capabilities in the conference tournament last weekend and our girls are anxious to get back on the field.”
The Bronchos captured the regular season title in their first season in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, but went 2-2 in last week’s MIAA Post-season Tournament.
It’s the seventh Division II national appearance since 2002 for Central Oklahoma, which advanced to the World Series in 2006 and again last year.