The 2017 Division II Softball Championship Tournament begins on Thursday, and teams will compete in Salem, Virginia. to see who will be crowned as the national champion.
THREE TEAMS TO WATCH
How they arrived: The Rambelles went 3-0 in the South Central Regional and then beat Texas Woman’s University twice in the Super Regional, outscoring the Pioneers 11-2 in the two wins.
Coach: Travis Scott
Key players: Freshman outfielder Courtney Barnhill is hitting .381 with 14 home runs, 11 doubles with 53 RBI. Senior pitcher Kenedy Urbany is 21-1 with a 1.17 ERA.
Notes: This marks the fifth time in the program’s history that the Rambelles have reached the Division II Softball Championship. The last time was 2010. Angelo State beat Armstrong 4-1 when the two teams met Feb. 4 in Melbourne, Fla. The Rambelles have won 22 of their last 23 games. Their strong finish in the regular season helped the Rambelles earn the No. 1 seed.
How they arrived: The Lumberjacks went 3-0 in the West Regional and beat Dixie State twice in the Super Regional, winning 3-2 and 8-6.
Coach: Shelli Sarchett
Key players: Senior second baseman Tiffany Hollingsworth is hitting .343 with eight home runs and a team-leading 49 RBI. Senior pitcher Madison Williams is 24-9 with a 1.97 ERA. She has 260 strikeouts in 206.1 innings.
Notes: The Lumberjacks are returning to the Division II Softball Championship after finishing runner-up last season. Humboldt State was one victory away from winning a national title. Humboldt State has won its last eight games after a stretch in which the Lumberjacks won three of eight games. Humboldt State is the underdog. The Lumberjacks are the eighth seed and open against No. 1 seed Angelo State.
How they arrived: The Pirates won the Southeast Regional and then beat North Georgia 6-2 in nine innings and 5-2.
Coach: Kim Dean
Key players: Sophomore catcher Logan Harrell is hitting .354 with 13 home runs and 11 doubles. She has knocked in a team-leading 44 runs. Senior pitcher Jane Trzaska is 17-7 with a 1.29 ERA. She has 109 strikeouts in 157 innings.
Notes: The Pirates know how to reach the Division II Softball Championship. This is their fourth appearance in the last five years. In 2013, Armstrong State reached the semifinals. Last year, Armstrong State also made the semifinals, going 3-2 in the national tournament. Both losses came to Humboldt State. But the Pirates also beat Humboldt State.