Saturday, May 19, 2018

Women's Softball: UIS softball eliminated from NCAA tournament

The University of Illinois Springfield softball team had the best batting average in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, but the offense wasn’t there for the Prairie Stars Friday. Fellow GLVC member Southern Indiana shut out No. 19 UIS 3-0 in the NCAA Division II Midwest Super-Regional at the Land of Lincoln Complex.

The loss ended UIS’ history-making season in the Sweet 16 and denied the Prairie Stars a trip to the Championship Tournament in Virginia.

“Today just wasn’t our day,” UIS senior pitcher Ali Haesele said. “Everybody came in today prepared to play two games. I don’t think anybody regrets their performance. Everybody was going all out and trying. If you give all you can, you can’t really regret that.”

Haesele struck out one and walked two in six innings to give her a 25-11 record.

The season is over for UIS, but it has plenty to celebrate. The Stars posted a school-record 40 wins, claimed the GLVC regular-season title and made the deepest postseason run in the program’s Division II era.

They also earned UIS its first regional title and national ranking in softball.

In addition, Shannon Guthrie was named GLVC Coach of the Year and Haesele was chosen as the GLVC Pitcher of the Year.

Six UIS players received all-GLVC honors. “They have so much to be proud of,” Guthrie said. “They’re a really special group. They went further than any team in UIS history. They need to understand they set the bar really high for the future.”

“The entire season was a fight,” UIS junior left fielder Madi Torry said. “Nobody expected us to be No. 1 in our conference at the end of the season. Nobody was expecting that. We had a lot of fight and tenacity, and wanted every game that we played. That sums up our season.”

With only four seniors on this year’s roster, the Stars (40-19) should return a lot of experience.

“We have meetings coming up and that’s when we’ll talk about next year and our focus,” said Wagoner, a sophomore right fielder. “At that point, we’ll be done with the sadness and we’ll be ready to go.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on May 18, 2018.

Read the entire article online.