WCU softball opens play in D2 National Finals Thursday

Matt Leon
May 22, 2019 - 2:54 pm
West Chester University celebrates winning the Atlantic Regional of the NCAA Division II Softball Tournament.

Courtesy of West Chester University


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For a second straight season, the West Chester University softball team has advanced to the National Finals of the NCAA Division II Tournament. 

The Golden Rams will open play in the double-elimination, eight-team finals on Thursday, taking on the University of West Florida in Denver. 

West Chester is 39-20 this season and they won the Atlantic Regional to get here.

Head coach Diane Lokey talks about when she feels her team really started to hit its stride.

"I feel like they really started to get their confidence during the PSAC Tournament," she said. "Then it just rolled from there. We went right into regionals and you could just see, because it's a young squad, that with every at bat, every pitch, every defensive play, they just continued to gain confidence."

Lokey says a lot of players have stepped up this season to make this run possible.

"Heidi McCollester, our senior catcher, has been the true glue," Lokey said. "She just broke a single-season record for RBI with 70 (to go along with a 377 average and 11 home runs). Then we have Emily Maseth (.398 average, 61 RBI) and Bri Garber (.371 average, 61 runs scored), who are juniors, that are also having great offensive years. Maegen Kavanagh has really stepped up lately with the pitching (12-4, 3.07 ERA), she's really gained her confidence in the second half of the season and she's really been helping out our other pitchers Reilly Gearhart (17-8, 2.24 ERA) and Jen Hanshaw (6-5, 2.66 ERA) throw some quality innings."

The Golden Rams are not unfamiliar with this West Florida team they will open with.

"We played them in Florida in February," Lokey said. "It was our first time on dirt. It was an 8-3 loss, but we were winning 3-1 and it just sort of caught up with us. So we're excited to play them again."

Last season the Golden Rams went 0-2 in the National Finals.

West Chester and West Florida will get underway at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.