William Woods Softball Team Prepares For National Tournament

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FULTON - No one thought they would get there.

"We weren't expected to win by anyone. We were the six seed," said William Woods softball coach Tracy Gastineau.

In the AMC conference tournament, the Owls knocked off the top three seeds and won every game on the road en route to their third AMC championship.

"I can't even explain when we won that championship game. It was just kind of surreal," said junior pitcher and centerfielder Kelsey Schulte.

But the team knows about overcoming the odds. In March, the Owls hit a wall and lost eight straight games, ruining a good start to the season.

"It's a lot of hard work to go from rock bottom all the way up," said senior infielder Chelsea Loethen. "I think we just had a lot of togetherness and team cohesion, and we did it as a team."

The AMC tourney win gave the Owls a spot under the bright lights of the NAIA national tournament in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It's the programs tenth appearance.

"If we get caught up in the hype of being in the national tournament and forget our way of playing ball then we might fall short," said freshman pitcher MacKenzie Bowden. "But as long as we've been playing the way we have been, we'll be fine," she added.

For this team, leadership is not an issue.

"We have eight seniors on the team, so we are heavy in experience. I think if we just continue to relax and play our game, I think that's going to be the difference," said Gastineau.

The Owls look continue their way up when they begin first round pool play of the national tournament on May 19. In the round, the Owls will face Olivet-Nazarene University, William Carey University and Iowa Wesleyan College.