Dixie State begins defense of West Region title this Thursday

Photo by Robert Hoppie, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State softball team received its invitation to the NCAA Tournament Monday. The Trailblazers will be headed to a familiar field. Azusa Pacific will be hosting the subregional.

blazerDDSU finished the season ranked seventh in the West Region. The Trailblazers first round opponent will be Central Washington, seeded second and winners of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). The other pairing in the subregional will pit sixth-seeded UC-San Diego against the hosts, third-seeded APU. The Cougars won the PacWest while UCSD won the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament.

“We are happy to be traveling to Azusa instead of Arcata,” said Dixie State’s Janessa Bassett. “It will be less travel for our families and fans, who are able to come, watch and support us.” The travel time difference between the two locales is nine hours.

Dixie State has not played Central Washington this year. The two teams met last year and Dixie State won 7-1.

“We will prepare for them this week,” said Dixie State head coach Randy Simkins. “At this stage in the game all of the teams that are left are very good. If we play like we are capable, we are just as good as any of the other teams. Central Washington has a good mix of hitting and pitching.”

“Last year we beat them,” said Bassett. “But I remember that they were a very good team. They had good fielders and good pitching.”

Dixie State's Autumn Woodfall (00), Dixie State University vs. California Baptist University, Softball, St. George, Utah, Apr. 11, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Autumn Woodfall and the Trailblazers will get a chance to defend their West region title, file photo from Dixie State University vs. California Baptist University, Softball, St. George, Utah, Apr. 11, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The other subregional in the West Region will be hosted by Humboldt State in Arcata, Calif. The Lumberjacks, from the CCAA, were ranked first in the region and will play Sonoma State in the first round. Sonoma, also from the CCAA, is seeded eighth. The other two teams traveling north are Chico State, from the CCAA, seeded fourth, and California Baptist from the PacWest, seeded fifth. All of the teams competing in this subregional were at-large invitations.

“We were a little nervous when we saw how far Cal Baptist fell (from second to fifth in the region standings)”, said Bassett. “We were worried about how that would affect our position. But we really like our side of the bracket. We will have to play at a high level to win.”

Dixie State shares its subregional with the three conference champions.

The subregionals are played in a double-elimination format. The two winners will then meet in the Super Regional and play the best out of three games. The eight Super Region winners then advance to the National World Series.

Dixie State will play in the first game on Thursday at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. The other pairing is slated for 4:30 p.m.

Last year, Dixie State represented the West Region at the World Series and went undefeated all the way to the Championship game before falling to North Georgia.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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