By Arnie Leshin
Division I softball tournament gets the biggest play every year. It gets media coverage and also all-day continuous television coverage when the 64-school field winds down to regional, super regional, and the Elite Eight World Series in Oklahoma City, the biggest stage of all for the popular yellow ball sport.
But before they throw out the first pitch at Hall of Fame Stadium, there’s Division I and II finishing their seasons and also celebrating before smaller turnouts, but having fun and competing just the same.
And last week, they had their own regional, super regional and World Series, with Augustana of South Dakota winning the best-of-three championship over Texas A & M-Kingsville. The last and only other title won by the Roadrunners was way back in 1991, also winning 61 times that season.
That was also a stingy team, being one of three other schools to lose only four times since the tournament began in 1982. This time, it suffered 11 setbacks. Against Texas A & M-Kingsville, Augustana won on scores of 5-2 and 6-4.
In the semifinals, the Roadrunners turned back Young Harris College of Texas and the Kingsville school got past Grand Valley State of Utah. Senior right-hander Heather Lipovsky of Grand Valley State was named 2019 Schutt Sports/NFC Division II National Pitcher of the year.
. . . The Division III championship went to Texas Lutheran as it turned in back-to-back 12-4 and 6-1 wins over Emery in the best-of-three. Lutheran put together a 40-8 record and placed fourth in the Southwest Region. Emery went 30-10 and was second ranked in the Atlantic Region.
Long Island University senior righty Julia Seader was chosen 2019 Schutt Sports/NFC Division III National Player of the Year.