HC softball has seen a great deal of success this season, positing a 29-12 (16-4) record this year. The Broncos led the conference standings throughout the season but struggled in the conference tournament play this past weekend in Sioux City.
The Broncos made quick work in the first three rounds, beating Briar Cliff, Doane and Morningside of scores of 9-4, 13-5 and 3-0. After this, the Broncos earned the right to play in the GPAC championship match Sunday. Despite beating Morningside in the third round, the Mustangs were also able to advance to the championship.
Morningside had to beat Hastings in two straight games in order to clinch the GPAC title. The Mustangs did just that taking the first game 19-8, leaning on a six run first and a ten run sixth inning to control the game. The Broncos added just five of their runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The second game ended the same as the first. The Broncos stayed strong but gave up a four run fourth and a five run fifth, so the Mustangs took the GPAC Championship away from the Broncos, who had won the regular season GPAC Title 10-1. “Morningside is a very solid team; they don’t have any weaknesses, they have good hitting, pitching and defense” said head coach Troy Baker.
The loss, however, didn’t change the postseason play, as the Broncos had already earned a trip to the national tournament after winning the regular season GPAC Conference title at Morningside April 29. “I think the team is very excited to get there, but they want to do something to prove that they belong there,” Baker said.
Broncos will travel to Oklahoma City to play the No. 1 seed Oklahoma City Stars as they drew the fourth seed in the Oklahoma City bracket. The winner of each host site will move on and continue to play in the tournament. “As the season progressed, we knew we had the team to make the tournament and we are all ecstatic to get to be there,” said senior outfielder Felicia Graff.
The stars lead the NAIA in runs scored, runs batted in, hits, doubles and rank second in slugging percentage at .584. The game will be the second of the day as Freed-Hardeman, Tenn., and Bellevue, Neb., kick off at the host site on May 13.