Softball Team Competes in
Its First NCAA Tournament
The Winthrop softball team made history as it
captured its first ever NCAA Regional victory by defeating Furman
11-1 in five innings.
The Winthrop softball
team capped its most successful season ever by playing in the NCAA
Regional finals on May 20 against the overall fifth-seeded Tennessee
Volunteers. The Lady Eagles (50-18) made their first ever regional
appearance and finished with two wins in the tournament.
Head coach Mark Cooke said the Lady Eagles (50-18) felt great about
beating Furman 11-1 and the University of North Carolina 6-3 to get
into the regional championship game where they lost 7-0 to
Tennessee. In playing the Lady Vols, the team encountered
Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year Monica Abbott.
“We did about as good as possible today against the best pitcher in
the nation,” said Cooke. “Just having the
opportunity to come play in a regional was a tremendous honor.”
Cooke gained his 500th win this season after leading the program for
18 years. His Lady Eagles teams have averaged 39.8 victories over
the past four seasons.
Winthrop finished the NCAA Regional with a 2-2 record,
also losing to a tough UNC squad in their first game, 4-3. Cooke was proud
of his team’s pitching and hitting as the Lady Eagles pounded out 11
runs in 10 hits in the victory over Furman, as well as six runs
against the Tar Heels.
Winthrop received an automatic berth to the NCAA Regional by
capturing the Big South Conference title May 12 when the Lady Eagles
defeated Radford 9-3.
Cari Wooldridge, a freshman pitcher from Bedford, Va., earned Most
Valuable Player honors for the Big South Tournament.
The future is bright for the Winthrop softball program as the team
loses only four seniors, will return the entire pitching staff and
will have five All-Big South selections returning to the starting
line-up next season.