Softball Team Advances to Regional Tournament
JONESBORO – Arkansas State University, the defending National Club Softball Association (NCSA) World Series champion, has qualified for the Mid-America Regional Playoff that will take place Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22, in Overland Park, Kan.
The Red Wolves, ranked second nationally, earned the right to go after clinching the Mid-America East Conference title with a 15-0 record. A-State recorded six home victories and won all nine games on the road.
“The rain this spring has forced us to cancel several games,” stated head coach Keith Hinson. “We are still practicing but you can’t simulate game time situations. We have six games scheduled before we head to regionals.
“We hold the record for the most consecutive appearances in the World Series. We were tied with the University of Florida at four until last year when we made it five and Florida did not qualify. Our intention is to extend that to six.”
Paul Williams, Mid-America East region coordinator, stated that the playoff bracket is incomplete with the central and west regions still undetermined and an at-large bid has not been extended. He noted the bracket should be available by April 16. A-State is the first team to clinch the region.
A-State junior Rachel Hinson leads her team in hitting with a .677 batting average. The third baseman from Vilonia has 22 runs and logged three home runs and 11 doubles this season. She has also batted in 28 runners at 31 times at the plate. Hinson was selected as a first-team All-American following the 2017 national championship run.
The 5-8 right-hander from Vilonia earned NCSA player of the week honors after posting a strong performance at the plate against Missouri, going 11 for 14 with nine runs scored. She finished the outing with three doubles, a triple and two home runs and drove in 12 RBIs. This is the second time for the right-hander to earn the honor.
Freshman Kelly Curtis of Harrisburg is batting at a .622 clip with 45 appearances at the plate. She has 28 runs on 28 hits, two doubles and triples apiece and 11 RBIs.
Pitcher McKenzie Roberts is also making a name for herself in her freshman season. The North Little Rock student also has a 5-0 record and was named NCSA player of the week for her play against Missouri and Delta State, taking both wins. She allowed six earned runs on seven hits and walked two in 11 innings. Overall, Roberts has an 8.61 ERA and struck out 10.
Also back is All-American Chloe Vaught at catcher. The senior right-hander from Morrilton has been to the plate 37 times with 12 runs, 15 hits, two doubles, one triple, one home run and 18 RBIs. She is hitting .405.
A-State’s softball club was founded in 2011 and has won five consecutive Eastern Conference titles of the Mid-America Region championships. The Red Wolves have made NCSA World Series appearances from 2013 through 2017, finishing in the top eight each season.