Eight of the top teams in the country in NCAA Division III softball are in Tyler for the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Championship.

The double-elimination tournament will begin on Thursday at UT Tyler's Suddenlink Field.

On Wednesday night, the teams were honored at the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Championship Banquet at the Herrington Patriot Center.

Local television personality Michael Coleman served as the Master of Ceremonies.

City of Tyler District 5 Councilman Bob Westbrook gave the visiting players one word of advice: "sunscreen."

Dr. Howard Patterson, the UT Tyler athletic director, asked those in attendance if they knew who Earl Campbell was. A few hands went up. But when he asked if they knew who Patrick Mahomes was, many of the college athletes recognized the name of the NFL MVP from Whitehouse.

Patterson then said he was in charge of the weather for the tournament.

"I hope you like it hot," he said. "I hope you have fun playing the game you love at The University of Texas at Tyler."

Kim Tatro, the NCAA Division III Softball Committee Chair, listed accomplishments of the teams involved, including a record of 289-70 with 527 total stolen bases.

Texas Lutheran's Kassie Maddox provided the invocation, and members from all eight teams were allowed to provide some remarks.

The eight that will be vying for the championship include: No. 2 Williams College Ephs (Williamstown, Massachusetts); No. 4 University of St. Thomas Tommies (St. Paul, Minnesota); No. 6 Illinois Wesleyan University Titans (Bloomington, Illinois); No. 7 Trine University Thunder (Angola, Indiana); No. 11 Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs (Seguin, Texas); Eastern Connecticut State Warriors (Willimantic, Connecticut); Emory University Eagles (Atlanta, Georgia); and Randolph-Macon College Yellow Jackets (Ashland, Virginia).

Eastern Connecticut has won four national titles (1982, '85, '86, '90). The Warriors were also runners-up in 1989 and 1991.

St. Thomas won consecutive titles in 2004 and 2005. The Tommies tried for three-straight, but were second in 2006.

Illinois Wesleyan was the runner-up in 2018, losing to Virginia Wesleyan when the tournament was in Oklahoma City.

Jan Gentry, the NCAA's associate director of NCAA championships and alliances, presented The Elite 90 Award. She said it is an award by the NCAA recognizing the studentathlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average who has reached the competition at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 90 men's and women's championships across its three divisions (Division I, Division II, Division III).

DeAnna Hernandez of Texas Lutheran was presented with the honor with a 4.0 GPA in biochemistry.

Dave Hines of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced the All-American teams — first, second and third.

First-team members included UT Tyler sophomore catcher Ashley Perez and UT Tyler senior outfielder Nicole Garcia.

Perez was also chosen as the Diamond Sports/NFCA Catcher of the Year for the second straight year after batting .437 with 52 hits, 27 runs scored, 13 doubles, six homers and 51 RBIs.

Texas Lutheran's Kelly Jurden earned the New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe Award, and Christopher Newport's Kaitlyn Hasty was the Schutt Sports/NFCA Freshman of the Year.

Other first-team All-Americans were pitcher Hanna Hull of Virginia Wesleyan, pitcher Ally Wiegand of Illinois Wesleyan, first baseman Mackenzie Chitwood of Lynchburg, second baseman Ally Fox of Marian, third baseman Hasty of Christopher Newport, shortstop Vada Blue Sherrill of Pfeiffer, utility player Alix DeDreu of Thomas More, designated player Jordan Day of Lesley, outfielder Patty Maye Ohanian of Christopher Newport, outfielder Melissa Livermore of UT Dallas and at-large selections Kierstin Anderson-Glass of St. Thomas, Stefanie Guercio of Carthage and Caraline Wood of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

UT Tyler senior pitcher Colleen Bentke was a second-team selection, along with East Texas Baptist freshman pitcher Beatriz Lara.

2019 NCAA Division III Softball


Suddenlink Field, UT Tyler

Thursday's Schedule

Game 1: St. Thomas (Minn.) vs. Eastern Connecticut State, 11 a.m.

Game 2: Texas Lutheran vs. Williams (Mass.), 1:30 p.m.

Game 3: Illinois Wesleyan vs. Trine (Indiana), 4 p.m.

Game 4: Emory (Ga.) vs. Randolph-Macon (Va.), 6:30 p.m.

Friday's Schedule

Game 5: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 11 a.m.

Game 6: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 1:30 p.m.

Game 7: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 4:30 p.m.

Game 8: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7 p.m.

Saturday's Schedule

Game 9: Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7, 1 p.m.

Game 10: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday's Schedule

Game 11: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9, noon

Game 12: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 10, 2:30 p.m.

Game 13: If necessary, 5:30 p.m.

Game 14: If necessary, 8 p.m.

National Championship


Game 1: 1 p.m. Monday

Game 2: 3:30 p.m. Monday

Game 3: 11 a.m. Tuesday, if necessary


SINGLE SESSION TICKETS: Good for one day at the UT Tyler Irwin Ballpark.

Adult Ages 12+: $10

Youth (12 and Under): $6

Student (With ID): $8

Senior Citizen (55+): $5

Groups of 10+: $5/per ticket

ALL-SESSION TOURNAMENT PASS: Good for every game, all tournament long.

Adult Ages 12+: $35

Youth (12 and Under): $20

Student (With ID): $20

Senior Citizen (55+): $20

Groups of 10+: $20/pass


Here is a quick look at the teams:


St. Thomas (43-5) won the Saint Paul Super Regional with a sweep of Wisconsin-La Crosse — 4-0 and 5-0.

The Tommies have won 10 consecutive contests.

Melissa Barry is the top hitter for St. Thomas with a .415 average, 51 runs scored and 29 stolen bases. Elise Barnes is batting .414 with eight home runs, 39 RBIs and 56 runs scored. Chase Shortly had a .405 average with 17 doubles, thre ehome runs and 53 RBIs.

Kierstin Anderson-Glass is 26-3 in the pitching circle with a 0.66 ERA, 121 strikeouts and 18 walks in 179 innings.


Eastern Connecticut State (34-11) won the Mansfield Super Regional with a sweep of Rowan — 2-1, 3-2.

The Warriors are led at the plate by Alexis Tyrrell, who is hitting .360 with 32 runs scored. Brooke Matyasovsky is a .344 hitter with nine home runs and 41 RBIs.

In the pitching circle, Morgan Bolduk is 20-1 with a 0.92 ERA, 111 strikeouts and 20 walks in 144 innings.


Texas Lutheran (35-8) won the McMinnville Super Regional with a series victory over Linfield — 6-5, 7-9, 5-2.

The Bulldogs are paced by Kelly Jurden, who is a .473 hitter with 55 stolen bases and 55 runs scored. Former Tyler Junior College standout Rebecca Snow is batting .389

Texas Lutheran uses depth in the pitching circle with a 1.64 team ERA. Six players have made at least eight pitching appearances for the Bulldogs.


Williams (38-5) won the Ithaca Super Regional with a sweep of Ithaca — 1-0 and 4-3.

The Ephs have lost just once in their past 28 games.

Rebecca Duncan and Makenzie Murphy have been key cogs for Williams at the plate and in the pitching circle. Duncan is a .368 hitter with three home runs, 25 RBIs and 31 runs scored, and she is 15-2 with one save, a 1.75 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 108 innings in the circle. Murphy is hitting .336 with six home runs and 33 RBIs, and she is 12-3 with one save, a 2.27 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings.


Illinois Wesleyan (38-8) won the Bloomington Super Regional against Carthage College by rallying from a 2-0 setback with wins of 1-0 and 4-1.

Sam Berghoff is the power threat for the Titans. She has nine home runs in just 75 at-bats. Shelby Fulk is hitting .371.

Ally Wiegand leads Illinois Wesleyan in the pitching circle. She is 23-3 with four saves, a 0.40 ERA and 247 strikeouts in 173 1/3 innings.


Trine (35-6) won the Angola Super Regional with a sweep of Geneseo — 6-3 and 3-1.

The Thunder are led by the big bats of Lainey McCue and Makenna Hartline. McCue is hitting .395 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs. Hartline is hitting .365 with 11 home runs, 36 RBIs, 15 doubles and 52 runs scored.

Kate Saupe is 16-2 in the pitching circle with a 1.52 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 106 innings. Hannah Kampmann is 15-1 with a 1.86 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 124 innings.


Emory (36-12) won the Lynchburg Super Regional against Lynchburg (2-7, 9-5, 10-8).

Cassie Baca is hitting .386 for the Eagles with two home runs, seven triples, 42 RBIs and 42 runs scored. Sami Feller is hitting .376 with two home runs, 25 RBIs and 33 runs. Jenna Wilson is hitting .373 with 44 runs and 33 stolen bases.

The strength of the Eagles is at the plate. They have a team batting average of .317 and a team ERA of 3.12.


Randolph-Macon (30-15) won the Newport News Super Regional against Christopher Newport (3-8, 4-3, 4-3).

The Yellow Jackets are led at the plate by Savannah Wood, who is hitting .417 with 39 RBIs and 28 stolen bases.

Candace Whittemore is the ace in the pitching circle. She is 20-8 with a 1.83 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 168 2/3 innings.

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