BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The SDSU softball team suffered a first round loss to Kansas City in the 2021 Summit League Tournament.
“We have been resilient all year. In the five games that we lost, we have always bounced back. That day was a little more difficult,” SDSU head coach Krista Wood said. “We were able to do it. We had to really get after it that day, so that we could get back together and regroup.”
“I definitely think that losing the first game helped us throughout the tournament and helped prepare us for this regional run,” SDSU junior Kelsy Lenox said. “It really helped us learn more and grow through adversity and I think overall it just helped us become better prepared.”
The Jacks would win their next four games, while allowing just two runs, to claim the Summit League title.
“We’ve been envisioning it all year and even at practices and talking about it all year. Being able to actually do it, was really cool,” Wood said. “Now we’ve set the standard of what it is here and I think that is really cool, but we did that and now that’s the standard of what Jackrabbit softball is going to be.”
“For a moment, about that same night, it was so surreal. I mean we have been talking about it since last year before COVID-19 hit, we talked about winning the conference tournament and the Summit League,” SDSU freshman outfielder Jocelyn Carrillo said. “When that happened, it was all of our hard working paying off, because we finally reached the moment we had been talking about.”
SDSU landed in the Fayetteville Regional with Stanford, Manhattan and the number six seed, Arkansas.
The Jacks will meet Stanford in their first game, a team that enters Friday’s contest with a 31-20 record.
“They put the ball in play and they bunt. They have good pitching and they have pitchers that keep our hitters off balance, but I think we match up with them really well, I mean our pitching staff and our hitters,” Wood said. “We’ve been facing, I think, pitchers like them in the league all year that throw more down and change speeds. There has been quite a few changeup pitchers, so I feel confident going into that with our hitters.”
SDSU will play in their first regional on Friday and despite never playing in an NCAA Tournament game, the Jacks are ready to make some noise.
“We’re going into this regional wanting to win. That is the goal. We’re coming to win, we’re not just playing to play. We have goals and we’re definitely ready to win this regional,” Lenox said.
The Jackrabbits will meet Stanford on Friday, May 21 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN3.