Tournaments galore this weekend
Notes: Weindruch helps Norse capture Iowa Conference title
It is tournament weekend in all three divisions across the nation.
Most Division III NCAA regional sites open on Thursday with the SUNY-Cortland (N.Y.) and Tyler-Texas regionals beginning play on Friday. With a 60-team tournament field, six of the eight regional sites feature eight-team double-elimination brackets with play beginning on Thursday. The remaining two sites, Tyler and Cortland, are six-team double-elimination brackets and begin on Friday.
The eight teams that emerge from those regionals will travel to the James I. Moyer complex in Salem, Va., May 20-24, to compete for the NCAA Championship. Defending champion East Texas Baptist opens play in Tyler, Texas, on Friday.
In Division II, all 16 four-team double-elimination regional sites open play on Friday, May 13. Winners of those regional sites will advance to Super Regional sites next weekend, and winners of those best-of-three series will advance to Salem, Va., for an eight-team double-elimination bracket played May 26-30, to determine the NCAA champion. Hawaii Pacific is the defending champion and is hosting a regional site this weekend. The top team in the final NFCA Division II regular season poll, Alabama-Huntsville, plays host to the South 1 regional this weekend.
At the Division I level, the vast majority of automatic qualifying conferences will determine those automatic bids via conference tournaments this weekend. Harvard (Ivy League) and Jackson State (SWAC) have clinched their league’s automatic bids to the 2011 NCAA tournament. Other leagues that do not have a tournament include the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-10, with all three of those conferences finishing play this weekend. Tournament selection will take place on Sunday evening.
Need to Know
• Luther sophomore Kelsey Weindruch earned NFCA Division III National Player of the Week honors as she helped the Norse capture its second consecutive Iowa Conference title and secure the top seed at the Eau Claire, Wis., NCAA regional. Weindruch went 8-for-11 (.727) in Luther’s three wins last week, including two against then-No. 7 Coe for the IIAC title. Leading off for the Norse, Weindruch scored six runs on eight hits with two home runs and three RBI. In the championship game, Weindruch went 2-for-4 in the eight-inning 6-5 win.
• Arizona State junior outfielder Annie Lockwood earned USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honors after her Sun Devils swept then-No. 11 Washington in Seattle last weekend. Lockwood collected six of ASU’s 11 RBI on the weekend, along with an intentional walk for a .545 average.
• Junior utility player Nikki Haberkorn of Regis (Colo.) earned NFCA Division II National Player of the Week honors as she helped lead the fourth-seeded Rangers to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title last week. Haberkorn went 6-for-12 at the plate during tournament play, with five runs, six RBI, six walks, three doubles, a triple and a home run. In her final at-bat of the tournament in a 2-2 tie, Haberkorn sent her team to the NCAA tournament with a three-run home run to defeat Adams State, 5-2. She also earned RMAC Tournament MVP honors.
• Oklahoma sophomore Keilani Ricketts went 3-0 last week and hit .600 en route to NFCA Division I National Player of the Week honors. In the Sooners final regular season games of the 2011 season, Ricketts pitched 13.0 innings with a 0.00 ERA, allowing just two hits with 22 strikeouts. At the plate, she went 3-for-5 with four RBI, four runs, four walks and a home run.
• Another sophomore, Megan Butterworth of Molloy, earned NFCA Division II Pitcher of the Week honors as she led the Lions to its first conference title in 16 years. Butterworth went 3-0 at the East Coast Conference tournament, allowing just one unearned run on nine hits with 23 strikeouts and six walks over 21 innings of work. She finished the week with a 0.00 ERA, limiting batters to a .125 average. Butterworth tossed two complete-game shutouts over the three-game stretch. In the championship game, she threw a four-hit shutout against then-No. 7 Dowling, striking out a tournament-best 11 batters.
• Linfield has held the top spot in the NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll since the preseason and remains in that spot entering NCAA play.
• Alabama-Huntsville remains atop the NFCA Division II Poll despite falling in the Gulf South Conference Tournament. UAH is hosting an NCAA Regional this weekend.
• Arizona State remains atop both Division I polls with one weekend of play remaining prior to NCAA selection.
• Senior 2B Chelsea Butler of Bethany earned Presidents Athletic Conference Tournament MVP honors as Bethany topped Thomas More 1-0 in the league’s championship game last weekend.
• Hofstra plays host to the Colonial Athletic Conference Tournament this weekend, having clinched the league’s regular season title. It is the 20th consecutive year that the Pride have captured either a tournament or regular season league championship.
• Kelsey Haupter to Central Washington helped the Wildcats to a 6-1 record and Great Northwest Athletic Conference title, hitting .583 with 11 RBI.
• Kelsi Weseman of Georgia Tech went 7-for-10 last week with nine RBI and two home runs as the Yellow Jackets took two of three games from Florida State.
• West Texas A&M’s Shelby Cockrell played a key role in the Lady Buffs Lone Star Conference championship, going 2-0 throughout five tournament games with 31 strikeouts.
• Florida’s Hanna Rogers picked up all three wins and struck out 13 as the third-ranked Gators swept then-No. 5 Tennessee.
• Mary Giancarlo of Lewis hit .733 with nine RBI last week as the Flyers won a second straight Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship.
• Nicole Hudson of Missouri helped the ninth-ranked Tigers earn a split with league-leading Texas, hitting .692 with five RBI to keep the Tigers alive in the Big 12 race.
• Quincy’s Torie Bunzell helped lead the Hawks to a runner-up finish at the GLVC Tournament, posting a 5-2 record with 78 strikeouts.