After a busy day off the field yesterday, the Central College softball team returns to the field tonight at the NCAA Division III National Finals for the first time in 10 years. Yesterday, the Dutch did a community service project in the morning that saw them play kickball and tee-ball with special needs students. After that was a BBQ lunch put on by the NCAA, and after an afternoon practice, the team attended the annual NCAA banquet. Junior Jordan Overland and sophomore Katie Canney spoke on behalf of the team at that dinner, as each team had two players tell their season story. Also as part of the banquet, sophomore pitcher Mallory Schuelenberg was honored as a third-team All-American, and Overland was the recipient of the Elite 89 Award, given to the player among the 8 schools with the highest cumulative Grade Point Average.
Moving forward to today’s action, Central draws Montclair State of New Jersey in the opening round of the 8-team tournament. The Red Hawks are led by first-team All-American pitcher Alex Hill, who has struck out 413 hitters and allowed only 30 walks, the fewest in the nation. Dutch Coach George Wares hopes that his team’s tough schedule has prepared them well.
“We’ve seen a lot of good pitching, so it’s one of those situations where we have to hang in there and get through the lineup and get an idea of what she’s doing. I’m pretty confident in a game like that because we’ve been tough to score against. We’re pretty comfortable now playing a 0-0 game, and we’re pretty comfortable playing a 5-5 game. We can play a lot of different ways.”
Game time is scheduled for 6:30 tonight in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but showers are predicted for much of the day, and could push game time back to later in the evening. We’ll hit the air 15 minutes prior to the first pitch with our Pella Motors.com Pregame Show on 92.1 KRLS and www.kniakrls.com.