Softball Nationals

Sara Levering, Staff Writer

The Linfield Softball team was hoping for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. This season would be the first season for the past thirteen not qualifying. And in six of those thirteen years, the Linfield softball team has made it to the NCAA Division III World Series.

Head coach Jackson Vaughan provided some thoughts on not qualifying. “We were obviously very disappointed as we felt like we were deserving of an at-large berth and the team had been practicing very hard in preparation for a strong playoff run.”

Vaughan gave some insight to the selection bid process, there are 62 teams that get in for softball. There are 42 automatic berths that are given to the winners of the various division III conferences in the United States. The remaining 19 are at-large berths that are for the second and third place teams in those 42 conferences to compete for.

The Wildcats were ultimately competing for one of those 19 spots. The selection process is based upon win/loss record, strength of schedule, record vs. ranked opponents and other factors.

Vaughan believed Linfield had a good chance of getting a bid since they were 32-10 on the season, which was better than approximately seven of the at-large teams that did get a bid. Thus, the team believed their chances were very good based on their record.

Based on the season, Vaughan stated that “with the set-up of the Northwest Conference, our strength of schedule was not great, because we play each other so often and beat each other up. This ended up being the primary reason that we did not get a selection, which is disappointing because I think the numbers do not accurately portray how strong our team and conference were this season.”

“However, we ultimately have to place a large amount of the blame on ourselves, as we did not win enough games to take the decision out of the NCAA’s Committee’s hands,” Vaughan concluded.