The wait is over: Softball heads to NAIA tournament

Eagles head to the tournament after 10 day break.

Sophomore+Mackenzie+Magro+catches+a+ball+in+the+outfield+during+the+game+vs.+Menlo+College+on+Feb.+14.+This+past+weekend%2C+softball+dropped+a+game+to+Azusa+but+won+their+double-header+against+Embry-Riddle.+%7C+Melanie+Kim%2FTHE+CHIMES

Sophomore Mackenzie Magro catches a ball in the outfield during the game vs. Menlo College on Feb. 14. This past weekend, softball dropped a game to Azusa but won their double-header against Embry-Riddle. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Laurie Bullock, Writer

Sophomore Mackenzie Magro catches a ball in the outfield during the game vs. Menlo College on Feb. 14. After a 10 day break from playing, the Eagles are headed to the NAIA National Tournament. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES [file photo]

 

After losing to No. 1 Concordia University in the Golden State Athletic Conference championship game, Biola’s softball team could do nothing but wait for the results of the rest of the conference. For 10 days the one question on the team’s mind was whether their season had come to a close or whether they were on the road to the NAIA national tournament.

On May 6 at 5 p.m. the Eagles got their answer.

Head coach Lorie Coleman was able to break the news to her players that they had not played their last game, and they had accomplished their season-long goal of making it to the national tournament.

“We have worked so hard to get where we are,” junior outfielder Brooke Madrid said. “There is not one girl that hasn’t contributed in some way and we’ve all played so well and fought so hard to get where we are.”

At the beginning of the season, the Eagles had made it a goal to make it to the national tournament — something that hasn’t happened for the program since 2001.

“In the beginning of this year we set down so many stats and we studied all the previous teams of Biola and saw what made them successful,” senior first baseman Vanessa Coleman said. “Our team is really good at goals; if you give us a goal we are going to do everything we can to achieve it.”

Now that all uncertainty has been erased, the Eagles can focus on what needs to be done to have a successful run in the tournament.

“As a whole, our team is really good defensively, but could still use some work offensively,” Coleman said. “So we have been really working on the offensive game as well as everyone getting better so that they can be ready play at 100 percent.”

AN INCREDIBLE SEASON

The Eagles have had an incredibly successful season compared to previous years. They finished out their season 34-12 overall and 13-7 in conference play, giving them a second-place standing in GSAC.

Part of what has made the team so successful is the strong and selfless senior leadership. The three seniors have made sure that the constant mentality for the team is unity and perseverance.

“When the leadership is strong it trickles down to the entire team,” Coach Coleman said. “It’s hard for teams to beat us when we are united like that.”

The Eagles have a long road ahead of them, but they are fully confident in their abilities as well as their perseverance in all game situations.

“Playing against Concordia has helped us know our weakness and how to conquer ours and take advantage of theirs,” Madrid said. “We have competed against the best and we have played pretty well and our team is doing really well.”

The opening round of the tournament will be double elimination style play with four teams playing at one site. Biola is set to play in the Reinhardt bracket in Waleska, GA. The Eagles’ first game is against Taylor University. If Biola defeats Taylor the Eagles will play either Reinhardt University or Georgetown University (Kentucky).

After the opening round, The 10 teams that come out on top of their opening round bracket will move on the NAIA Softball World Series, which will be held in Columbus, GA. 

It’s possible that the Eagles could find themselves up against Concordia in the World Series tournament. With their experience against the team, Biola feels confident about going head to head with Concordia in a high-pressure setting.

“I think it would be exciting to play them again,” Madrid said. “We know our capabilities and I am very confident in the team and I know that we can pull through when it counts.”

The Eagles will travel to Waleska, GA to begin the opening round tournament starting on May 12. The Softball World Series will begin 10 days later on May 22. 

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