AC Faces Navarro College at San Jacinto College-South
The 2022 version of the Angelina College Lady Roadrunner softball team is looking for the third trip to the NJCAA Division I Softball National Tournament in program history.
This might be a new group, but the expectations are still the same.
The Lady ‘Runners will open the Region XIV Conference Tournament on Friday at San Jacinto College-South in Houston. The double-elimination tourney runs through the championship round on Monday, with the top four teams from each of the East and South Zones competing for the trip to nationals in Yuma, Arizona later this month.
Head coach Josh Barnes’ squad played their final regular-season games last week, finishing the year with a 36-14 record – with those wins the best total in program history for a first-year head coach.
All that with a group consisting of just one sophomore – Sara Mayes, who was a member of AC’s 2019 national runners-up group – and a bevy of freshmen. To prepare his team for the upcoming tournament, Barnes said the key word was “relax.”
“We’ve had a really good week, and they’ve been very relaxed, especially for a freshman team going through their first week of final exams,” Barnes said. “We haven’t had to change a lot of things, and we know we’re not magically going to get 100 percent better in specific areas in such a short time.”
“We’re not going to drastically change who we are, but we’re comfortable with who and where we are at this point.”
Barnes said the lack of experience can actually be of benefit to a young group, especially one that’s experienced so much success this past season.
“Sometimes it’s good to not know what you don’t know,” Barnes said. “We believe we’re one of the best teams in this region, and we’ve proved it all year. We feel like we can compete with anybody.
“Our girls are a very cool, level-headed team. They really believe in each other and what we do.”
AC, the No. 2 seed from the South Zone, will open at noon on Friday against Navarro College (24-19), the East Zone’s No. 3 seed. The teams didn’t face one another during the regular season.
The Lady ‘Runners have every right to feel confident: They led the league in several categories during the 2022 season, including team batting average (.380), homers (86, good enough for 10th in the nation), RBI (356), runs scored (371) and slugging percentage (.635, 13th in the nation). AC was second in the zone in fielding percentage (.952) and fourth in earned-run average (3.31).
Such an all-around game should serve the team well despite the lack of experience. Mayes, the team’s only sophomore, was a member of the 2019 Lady Roadrunner team that finished as national runners-up.
For a young group, AC sure racked up those 36 wins in impressive fashion.
Just four more wins, and the Lady ‘Runners can pack their bags for the trip to Yuma.
Below is the schedule and other information for the conference tournament, including the live streaming link to Texas Sports Radio Network (TSRN), which will stream every game.
REGION XIV SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
San Jacinto S-25 Softball Field
Address: 13735 Beamer Road, Houston, TX, 77089
May 13-16, 2022 | Double-Elimination
FREE LIVESTREAM LINK: All Games Streamed by TSRNSports.com https://tsrnsports.com/2022-njcaa-region-14-softball…/
First-Round Pairings (Home team is listed second)
FRIDAY, May 13
Game 1 – Noon: East #3 Navarro College (24-19/14-10) vs. South #2 AC (36-14/16-8)
Game 2 – 2:30 pm: South #3 Blinn College (20-29/13-11) vs. East #2 Tyler JC (32-20/16-8)
Game 3 – 5 pm: South #4 Coastal Bend CC (20-26/13-11) vs. East #1 Bossier Parish CC (40-10/22-2)
Game 4 – 7:30 pm: East #4 Paris College (33-15/14-10) vs. South #1 San Jacinto College (39-14/19-5)
SATURDAY, MAY 14
Game 5 – Noon: Loser of Game 1 v. Loser of Game 3
Game 6 – 2:30 pm: Loser of Game 2 v. Loser of Game 4
Game 7 – 5 pm: Winner of Game 1 v. Winner of Game 2
Game 8 – 7:30 pm: Winner of Game 3 v. Winner of Game 4
SUNDAY, MAY 15
Game 9 – Noon: Winner of Game 6 v. Winner of Game 7
Game 10 – 2:30 pm: Winner of Game 5 v. Loser of Game 9
Game 11 – 6 pm: Winner of Game 7 v Winner of Game 8
Game 12 – 7:30 pm: Winner of Game 9 v. Winner of Game 10
MONDAY, MAY 16
Game 13 – Noon: Winner of Game 12 v. Winner of Game 11
Game 14 – 3 pm — If Necessary