Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Thursday, May 8, 2003
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The Muhlenberg softball team will make its seventh appearance in the NCAA Division III TournamentNCAA softball this weekend, beginning with a game against Hunter tomorrow at 10:00.

The Mules (14-19) are one of six teams in the “Seed 4” regional, hosted by Ramapo College in Mahwah, N.J. The regional includes three of the top 20 teams in the NFCA poll — No. 13 Ramapo (30-5), No. 7 Salisbury (37-3-1) and No. 19 Moravian (29-8) — and the only two teams in the NCAA Tournament with under-.500 records: Muhlenberg and Kings Point (16-23).

“There are 43 teams in the tournament, and everyone’s a winner, but not
Danielle DeLucia
Junior Danielle DeLucia was named to the regional All-Tournament Team when the Mules competed in the NCAAs in 2001.
everyone has been a ‘loser’,” said senior Meghan Woods, who has started at both catcher and right fielder this year. “We know where we don’t want to be and we’ll try our hardest to keep going.”

The Mules got off to a 1-12 start but are 13-7 in their last 20 games. They entered last weekend’s Centennial Conference playoffs as the fourth seed in a four-team tournament and went 3-1 to capture their third CC title in four years. For the NCAAs, they are seeded fifth in a six-team regional.

“It will be very similar in intensity,” noted Woods. “Last week each game was do or die, and even though we didn’t win the first time against Gettysburg [on the final day of the tournament], the flame was turned higher for the second game.”

In Hunter (22-11-1), Muhlenberg will be facing a team that is appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. The Hawks, who won the City University of New York Athletic Conference title, rank 24th in Division III in team batting average (.336) and 15th in runs scored (7.15 per game). Kari Porto is the fifth-leading hitter in the country with a .495 average.

Muhlenberg and Hunter were scheduled to play each other on April 24, but that doubleheader was cancelled because the Mules had to make up a CC rainout.

“That was a good omen. It was cancelled because we were meant to play them now,” joked Woods. “They’re very fast, and they bunt a lot, so our corner infielders will have to work hard.”

The Mules are 8-12 in their previous NCAA appearances, while the Hawks are 1-4. The winner of tomorrow’s game goes on to play Ramapo at 2:00, while the loser heads to Saturday morning’s elimination game against the loser of the game between Salisbury and the winner of Kings Point-Moravian.

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Last updated May 8, 2003