TLU Softball preparing for first Super Regional appearance
Bulldogs will play Linfield in McMinnville, Oregon, Friday at 6 p.m.
SEGUIN, Texas – In five of the past six seasons, the Texas Lutheran University softball team had come short of advancing past the NCAA Regional Championships.
This year, they finally broke through.
With their 5-4 victory over Birmingham-Southern College on Sunday, the Bulldogs had clinched the regional title and advanced to the first Super Regional in program history.
"It was a very emotional day on Sunday," said senior third baseman and pitcher Kassie Maddox. "To gather around that circle and have a moment of joy and happiness. This is something we all dream of. As little kids growing up, we dream of big moments where we're able to shine in the postseason and keep playing. To have this honor in my senior year is just awesome. We're counting our blessings to be one of the few teams in the nation still standing."
"It was awesome to know that we had finally done it," explained sophomore outfielder Kelly Jurden. "We've finally broken through and gotten farther than we've ever gone before. We've also done it for the Bulldogs in the past and even the future Bulldogs as well. Making this memory and this final leap is great."
The Bulldogs' consistent success over the past half-decade is largely due to their team-first philosophy, and the three seniors on the roster have done their best to maintain that standard in 2019.
"The team is great, even outside the softball field," said freshman second baseman Casey Martin. "We have our leaders, the upperclassmen, and they have worked with the freshman very well. They taught us the fundamentals and how to acclimate."
"It's a fairly young team, one of the youngest teams I've ever had," said head coach Wade Wilson. "I think our chemistry has been pretty good this year. There hasn't been any drama. They've done a good job of taking care of that."
Now, less than 72 hours removed from the greatest achievement in team history, the Bulldogs must pack up and travel to McMinnville, Oregon, the site of their Super Regionals.
"We just got back yesterday afternoon and we've had about 24 hours since we've been home, so it's just a whirlwind," Jurden explained. "Everyone's just running around trying to get packed for Oregon. We haven't had a lot of time to sit down and reflect on what's happening and what the next round will bring, but we're super excited for it to get here."
Their opponent, Linfield College, is no stranger to this stage of the playoffs. The Wildcats have won two NCAA Division III titles in 2007 and 2011 and are back in the Super Regional for the second straight season.
"We're going to face a team that's won a couple of national championships and has been in the World Series," Wilson said. "I have a lot of respect for their coach and their program, so it's going to be great competition, and hopefully we can be prepared to play."
"I'm looking forward to being in a new environment and experiencing it all with my teammates, my best friends," Jurden said. "I love being with them and so just to see the new place, the new scenery, new weather with them is what I'm most excited for."
"It's taken a long time for me to process this, sit back and be still playing," Maddox said. "I get to be on the field with my sisters and my best friends one more time -- hopefully two more times counting the World Series. It's all just an honor."
Texas Lutheran will take on Linfield in the first game of their best-of-three series Friday at 6 p.m. CST.
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