THIS WEEK: Dakota State (16-16 overall record) prepares for the postseason play this weekend in the NAIA Softball Unaffiliated Conference Tournament at Gress Softball Complex in Dickinson, N.D. The double-elimination conference tournament features six teams from the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) and Frontier conferences.
NAIA SOFTBALL UNAFFILIATED CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: Dakota State is the No. 5 seed in the NAIA Softball Unaffiliated Conference Tournament. The Trojans begin their postseason play in the first round of the conference tournament Friday morning versus No. 4 seed Valley City State (8-24) at 11 a.m. (Central Time)/10 a.m. (Mountain Time). No. 3 seed Great Falls (27-15) takes on No. 6 seed Mayville State (N.D.) (3-24) in the other first-round game scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (CT)/12:30 p.m. (MT). Top-seed and host-team Dickinson State (N.D.) (22-13) plays the winner of Dakota State-Valley City State game at 4 p.m. (CT)/3 p.m. on Friday. No. 2 seed Jamestown (N.D.) (20-11) will take on the winner of Great Falls-Mayville State game in the night cap at 6:30 p.m. (CT)/5:30 p.m. (MT). The tournament runs through Sunday afternoon with the championship game set for 1:30 p.m. (CT)/12:30 p.m. (MT). If necessary, the second championship game will be played 30 minutes after the completion of the first championship game. All games will be at the Gress Softball Complex in Dickinson, N.D.
AUTOMATIC BID: The winner of the NAIA Softball Unaffiliated Conference Tournament will earn an automatic bid to the inaugural NAIA Softball National Tournament Opening Round. The event will be played on May 13-15 and features 10 four-team double elimination tournaments. The 40 qualifiers and pairings for the National Championship Opening Round will be announced on May 7. In the 33-year history of the softball national championship, the 2013 Opening Round format is a first for the NAIA. The hosts include Belhaven (Miss.), Concordia (Calif.), Concordia (Ore.), Lee (Tenn.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), Lubbock Christian (Texas), Oklahoma City, Park (Mo.), Rogers State (Okla.) and South Carolina Beaufort. The champions of each of the 10 Opening Round tournaments advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship final site in Columbus, Ga., from May 24-30. These programs will participate in a double-elimination national championship format on one championship field, which was the home of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.
DAKSTATS TOURNAMENT WEBSITE: Dickinson State has set up a DakStats-NAIA statistical tournament page for the NAIA Softball Unaffiliated Conference Tournament. It can be found on http://www.dakstats.com/Websync/Pages/Tournament/TournamentPage.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&tour=1092.
THREE DSU EARNS PLAYER OF WEEK HONORS: Three Dakota State softball athletes were named to the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.)/Frontier Player of the Week honors during the 2013 softball season. Brittany Hill earned this honor twice during Week No. 2 (March 4-10) and Week No. 6 (April 1-7). Samantha Deen was named to the weekly honor during Week No. 2 as pitcher of the week. Katie Slibowski was the most recent pitcher of the week honor (Week No. 9), where she was 2-2 on the mound, producing an earned runs average of 2.26. She recorded a total of 28 batters in 32 innings of work.
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Brittany Hill leads the Trojans' offense attack with a batting average of .514 (57 hits). She records a total of 38 runs batted in (RBIs). Hill leads the nation in hits per game (1.8) and fifth in batting average. Lexy Miller swipes 13 bases this season (0.5 per game). Samantha Deen produces an earned run average of 3.78 on the pitching mound. She allowed 29 earned runs this season. Katie Slibowski leads the team with 98 strikeouts and a pitching record of 9-7. Audrey Lorenz ranks 13th in the nation in hits per game (1.6), 42nd in batting average (.450) and 25th in runs scored per game (1.1). Elizabeth Rubaclcava is 29th in the nation in total triples (4).
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State softball and athletics all season long at www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics.
FOLLOW DSU SOFTBALL ON GAMECHANGER: Fans can follow the Trojan Softball this season on GameChanger (live stats/score/play-by-play website). You can go to http://www.gamechanger.io/t/spring-2013/trojans-50ed80b51bdb1ec741000001 for more information.
UP NEXT: The NAIA Softball National Tournament Opening Round takes place on May 13-15 on 10 different sites, announced by the NAIA. The Opening Round features four-team double elimination tournament. The 40 qualifiers and brackets for the National Championship Opening Round will be announced on May 7.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director