Photo Credit: Jayson Ortiz
KANSAS 4, GEORGE WASHINGTON 3
FORT COLLINS, CO — Kansas starting pitcher Katie Brooks allowed three hits and hung tough during a seventh-inning rally to guide the 12-seeded Jayhawks past No. 5 George Washington in Game 2 of the 2022 NISC.
KU (17-34) advances to face Central Arkansas on Sunday in the winner’s half of the double-elim format, with the Colonials (36-16) playing Monday in the loser’s half.
Kansas jumped ahead 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning; with one out Savanna DesRochers doubled to left field and Shelby Gayre singled, Angela Price followed with a single to drive in DesRochers. The Jayhawks added an insurance run in the sixth after Olivia Bruno walked on four pitches. After two outs and Bruno advancing to second base, Price drove her in with a single to right field on a nine-pitch at-bat.
Bruno then added a two-run homer in the top the seventh, her team-high 11th of the season. Brooks moved to 7-7 on the season.
Alexa Williams. the Atlantic 10 player of the year, hit a three-run homer for GW with two outs in the seventh before Brooks got the final out on a fly ball to right field.
BOWLING GREEN 7, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 3
FORT COLLINS, CO -- Maycee Godbolt hit two home runs for Bowling Green, and starting pitcher Payton Gottshall struck out 10 batters as the Falcons topped Stephen F. Austin in the first game of the 2022 NISC.
Godbolt, who entered the game hitting .188 with two home runs on the season, launched a three-run homer in the top of the fifth to put Bowling Green ahead, 4-2. Payton Hamm added two runs in the frame with a double that drove in Sarah Gonzalez and Sophie Weber as the Falcons moved ahead, 6-2.
SFA got it to 6-3 via a solo home run from Dakotah Pool in the bottom of the fifth, but Godbolt answered with a home run in the top of the seventh to make it 7-3. Gottshall moved to 26-12 on the season and now has 366 strikeouts on the year, ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Bowling Green (33-19) will face top-seeded Virginia on Sunday in the winners bracket of the double-elim format, with the Ladyjacks (31-26) set for a Monday game in the loser’s half.
Bowling Green took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning as Lexi Carver lead off with a single, followed by a double from Sophie Weber. The Ladyjacks tied it up on a solo home run from Sydnee Hebert in the bottom of the third.
Camryn Middlebrook legged out an infield single for Stephen F. Austin to drive in a run in the fourth inning. Emily Berryhill singled in the fourth for SFA, and Gaby Garcia hit a double to put runners on second and third. Middlebrook grounded to shortstop but beat the throw to score Berryhill as the Ladyjacks took a 2-1 lead.
We are on as scheduled for Saturday action at the 2022 NISC; Game 1 features Bowling Green vs. Stephen F. Austin at the TC Colorado Field, 8:30 a.m. MT.
Game 2: Kansas vs. George Washington, 11 a.m. MT
Game 3: UC San Diego vs. Rutgers, 1:30 p.m. MT
Game 4: Tarleton State vs. North Alabama, 4 p.m. MT
WEATHER UPDATE | The 2022 NISC hopes to begin play Saturday with the following revamped schedule – please note, this is all tentative as weather complications overnight could require another reset. We will have another update at 5:30 am Saturday.
Saturday, May 21
at TC Colorado Field (all times MT)
Game 1: Bowling Green vs. Stephen F. Austin, 8:30 a.m.
Game 2: Kansas vs. George Washington, 11 a.m.
Game 3: UC San Diego vs. Rutgers, 1:30 p.m.
*Game 4: Tarleton State vs. North Alabama, 4 p.m.
* University of Northern Colorado will be a backup facility if we experience any delays and need a secondary field.
Sunday, May 22
at TC Colorado Field
Game 1 winner vs. Virginia, 8:30 a.m.
Game 2 winner vs. Central Arkansas, 11 a.m.
Game 3 winner vs. Baylor, 1:30 p.m.
Game 4 winner vs. UNLV, 4 p.m.
The next games in the double-elim format will be announced this weekend as circumstances permit.
Colonials get the culture right, earn berth in 2022 NISC
By Kyle Koso
From time to time, a college athletic program will look at its ragged resume, decide it’s time for radical surgery and go for a gigantic reset with a young coach – clean house, clear the air and climb from the depths.
In taking over the head coaching spot for George Washington softball in her mid-30’s, Chrissy Schoonmaker fits the bill as one of those young early-achieving types, but it was a different situation with the Colonials for her debut season in 2022. GW had just earned the program’s first-ever NCAA tourney berth the year before under coach Shane Winkler, who won 91 games in three seasons before moving to East Carolina.
The Colonials were hardly downtrodden, and no one wanted to see the team downshift in the transition moment to Schoonmaker. Fortified by confidence earned in her assistant coaching days and blessed with a roster that had experience as well as fresh faces ready to contribute, she piloted GW to a 36-15 record (21-3 in the Atlantic-10) and a berth in the 2022 National Invitational Softball Championships (May 20-26).
George Washington, seeded fifth, will play No. 12 Kansas in Round 1.
Schoonmaker played at South Carolina from 2004-08 and was a volunteer assistant there under head coach Bev Smith, arguably her most impactful early influence. Coaching stints at Houston, UConn, Texas Tech and Harvard also broadened her view; it helped take a lot of mystery out of how to proceed.
“I’ve had great mentors in my career; I learned a ton, learned to do it the right way. And then there’s 10-12 years as an assistant trying to figure out, what are my philosophies along with (how to work) with the head coach?” Schoonmaker said. “And that whole time, you’re developing your beliefs for when that opportunity comes. I firmly believe in culture; we focus on it daily. Talking about it when I took the job, the big three things were culture -- the environment we create as leaders; player development, growing them as people, athletes, teammates and students; and recruiting, which is the lifeblood of the program.
“It’s a program that has had success. To lead people, you have to know who they are, and I’ve been intentional about building the relationships with my players. What are their goals? The more I understand, the easier it is to lead them as individuals to those goals, and then as a team.”
One effective mechanism for that had the squad meeting in right field after fall practices, sitting down to tackle questions out of a book designed to spark conversation and deepen the players’ appreciation for each other. It did two disparate things at once – cement intensity and a desire to play hard for each other, while also laying out when a gentle word of comfort would be appropriate.
The team embraced the thought that they weren’t “defending” an A-10 title, as that was something that could never be diminished. The 2022 season meant a new coach, a new year, a new opportunity for achievement. Getting her roster in the right spot mentally was a big help for Schoonmaker, who could then work out her fresh touches on a program that had just won the A-10 title outright.
“GW was coming off a great season in 2019; 2020 was COVID, but 2021 was another tremendous year as the team made its first NCAA appearance. There were high expectations, and the returners had a taste of success,” she said. “A lot of talent graduated (after 2021); the challenge was to continue with championship standards and behavior, while developing younger players who hadn’t been in major roles. I was mindful of that; our standards were still to be in position to compete for a championship at the end of the year.”
A demanding but instructive pre-conference slate got the Colonials ready for another strong A-10 run, and they had the best regular-season record by a comfortable margin. At the league tournament, however, GW fell early to Fordham, 1-0, then lost to the Rams one more time in the double-elim final to miss out on the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m proud of how we did fight and compete in the tournament. We had an outstanding start with a win over Saint Louis; that 1-0 game with Fordham was a hiccup, a real clean game with two great pitching performances, both teams with three hits,” she said. “Their three hits were strung together, and they beat us. In the final, we competed hard. Fordham had clutch hits and we weren’t as sharp as we could have been, but we never quit. I was so proud of them – happy with the grit and fight and how they showed up every day.
“You don’t get to choose the results, but you can choose how you show up. Saturday (May 14), we felt like we got punched, you could see it in the right-field huddle. I shared we might get to go to the (NISC); I wasn’t sure at that moment, and it gave the team a glimmer of hope as I was looking at six people who thought their collegiate careers were over. Sunday night, we got the bid to come to Colorado, and the team was thrilled, excited to continue the journey and play together. They haven’t lost anything; they were disappointed and felt like they got punched, but they are ready to compete and are focused on what’s next.”
The NISC (held at the TC Colorado Field next to the home office of Triple Crown Sports) is another chance for a George Washington all-timer to flex her skills – graduate student Sierra Lange was the repeat A-10 pitcher of the year after going 27-9 with a 2.25 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 217.2 innings pitched. She’s also the team’s leadoff hitter, hitting .338 with 48 runs and 19 stolen bases.
The No. 2 hitter in the order is the A-10 player of the year, sophomore Alexa Williams. She hit .379 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI (she has 93 RBI in 96 games played). GW gets more punch from Allessandra Ponce, the program’s all-time leader in doubles who doubles as the team’s calming presence.
“If we get frazzled, she’s the one who gets everyone together and back on the same page,” Schoonmaker said.
Other key contributors include cleanup hitter Mia Parker, who had just 10 at-bats last year but has blossomed in her role at second base; shortstop Hannah Eslick (a first-team A-10 selection); Maggie Greco, arguably the infield’s top glove at third base; and freshman Maddie Spell, who hit .320 mostly out of the No. 8 spot in the batting order.
FORT COLLINS, CO – Tournament officials have announced the 12-team field that will head to Colorado for the 2022 National Invitational Softball Championships, a Division-I postseason softball event that includes four Power 5 programs and eight mid-majors with action set to begin Friday, May 20.
All games will be streamed on FloSoftball and take place at the TC Colorado Field, just outside the offices of Triple Crown Sports in Fort Collins, CO. The NISC began in 2017 and ran through 2019 before stepping aside because of the COVID-19 pandemic for two years.
The top four seeds have a first-round bye and will start on Saturday, May 21; the No. 1 seed for the 2022 NISC is Virginia (27-24). Baylor (28-24) is the No. 2 seed, UNLV (38-13) is seeded third and No. 4 is Central Arkansas (35-20). Here’s the rest of the field:
No. 5 George Washington (36-15)
No. 6 North Alabama (38-18)
No. 7 Rutgers (25-28)
No. 8 Stephen F. Austin (31-25)
No. 9 Bowling Green (32-19)
No. 10 UC San Diego (27-26)
No. 11 Tarleton State (29-23)
No. 12 Kansas (16-34)
Teams had to have an RPI in the national top 100 or have a winning record if its RPI was greater than 100. Conference record, results against the RPI Top 50, last 10 games, notable wins, upset losses and player injuries also were taken into consideration.
This year’s NISC features a double-elimination format. Here’s the schedule for the first two rounds (home team listed second):
Friday, May 20 (all times Mountain):
Bowling Green vs. Stephen F. Austin, 8:30 a.m.
Kansas vs. George Washington, 11 a.m.
UC San Diego vs. Rutgers, 1:30 p.m.
Tarleton State vs. North Alabama, 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 21
TBA vs. Virginia, 8:30 a.m.
TBA vs. Central Arkansas, 11 a.m.
TBA vs. Baylor, 1:30 p.m.
TBA vs. UNLV, 4 p.m.
The event concludes with the Championship Round on May 25-26, with the last four teams competing for the title.
“We’ve been waiting to get this back on the calendar; it’s the last Triple Crown event to return after the pandemic. The NISC will deliver a terrific group of teams, all making a highly competitive push to earn a national championship,” said event director and Triple Crown founder David King. “We’re super excited for the opportunity to help grow the sport even more.”
The 2017 NISC was won by Liberty; the 2018 crown went to Loyola Marymount, and the 2019 title went to UT Arlington.
About Triple Crown Sports
Based in Fort Collins, CO., Triple Crown Sports has been producing youth, high school and college events for 40 years. TCS runs both the preseason and postseason WNIT basketball events and produces the men’s and women’s DI Cancun Challenge tournaments in November. Triple Crown is also powering “WNIT” concept events in D-I softball (NISC) and volleyball (NIVC), with those two events debuting in 2017. Triple Crown’s PV College Challenge features more than 10 of the top DI college softball teams in the country each year in Puerto Vallarta, MX. Anchored by the 1,000-team Colorado 4th of July event, TC fastpitch tournaments draw the nation’s finest club programs, and hundreds of college coaches attend TCS events for recruiting purposes. TCS produces one of the largest youth baseball events in the world with the Omaha SlumpBuster during the College World Series. The Triple Crown Volleyball NIT has become the top-recruited club volleyball event in the country each February when 550 teams compete in Kansas City, MO.
About College Sports Evaluation
College Sports Evaluation is the No. 1 verified evaluation company that puts sensor data analysis in the hands of colleges to help assess in-game performance and athletic development. With cutting-edge equipment, in-house mathematicians and three grad university partnerships, College Sports Evaluation is dedicated to improving current rosters along with the collection and analysis of longitudinal data. CSE also tests youth athletes both subjectively and objectively to aid in player development.