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Pittsburg State softball eager to host Central Region Tournament

With the NCAA DII Central Region Tournament kicking off Thursday, the Pittsburg State softball team is in a prime position to make some noise as the top seed.

“They’re just super excited because they earned the number one seed and get to play at home,” Joplin softball coach Jenny Fuller told NewsTalk KZRG. “That’s a huge advantage. All of their hard work throughout the season is paying off. They are thrilled to be playing in front of the home crowd.”

Pitt State opens the double-elimination tournament with a matchup against eighth-seeded Southern Arkansas at 3 p.m. at the PSU Softball Complex.

“At this point, every team we play is going to be good,” Fuller said. “We’re going to pitch well, hit well and play defense well. We have to play well all the way around if we want to win. 

The Gorillas are in the midst of a historical season. PSU has won 51 games this season, which is a program high, and is currently ranked as the fourth team in the country. Pitt State has a 22-game win streak under its belt this year, also a program record. PSU split the MIAA Conference regular season title and took second in the conference tournament after a one-run loss in extra innings this past weekend. Coach Fuller has also become the fastest coach to 100-career wins in program history. 

“This is such a special team, and they’re so much fun to be around,” Fuller said. “At the start of the year when we played our first tournament in Texas, we thought we could be pretty special. They just kept proving to us that they could win no matter who they played. I am just proud of all of their hard work. They set really high standards and really paved the way for the future of Pitt State softball to be national contenders.”

The Gorillas have already garnered plenty of recognition with the MIAA Co-Player of the Year going to Heather Arnett and Ava Laurent finishing as the MIAA Freshman of the Year. Coach Fuller and her staff also revived MIAA Coaching Staff of the Year honors, while the Gorillas had five first-team all-conference representatives, two gold gloves and an honorable mention.

“I think when you have a lot of your team represented it means that you had a pretty good year,” Fuller said. “I think the players really earned the accolades and deserve them. I couldn’t be more proud of them to get that recognition they deserve because the MIAA is so tough. I am really proud of our staff, too, because we have our own individual strengths and as a staff, we have accomplished a lot. It takes a whole team to be good, so I am really proud of everybody.”

Though PSU has already accomplished so much this season, there is just one goal left—keep winning.

“I think it’s still playing loose and having fun, but knowing we have a job to do,” Fuller said about what she wants to see from her team this weekend. “If we want to continue to play, we can’t be satisfied. We have to go out there, bring the energy and execute. If we can do that, we will be fine.”

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