Surprisingly sent on road, Bethel Softball heads off for NCAA Regional
After making their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season, the 11th-ranked Bethel Royals are back again with a chip on their shoulder.
Last season’s breakthrough campaign included Bethel hosting, and winning, an NCAA Regional.
Despite a 33-3 record – which included a perfect 20-0 MIAC regular season and tournament-winning campaign – the NCAA sent the Royals on the road for Regionals this year.
The Royals take a 23-game win streak into the NCAA postseason.
KSTP Sports checked in with the Bethel Softball team as they packed up to head to their NCAA Regional on Wednesday morning – click the video box above to watch interviews with the Royals as they departed campus
The Royals are headed to Pella, Iowa to play in an NCAA Regional hosted by Central College. The four-team, double-elimination Regional also includes WIAC Champion Wisconsin-LaCrosse, Midwest Conference champion Grinnell and host Central, who earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Royals are currently ranked 11th in the national Division-III poll. They were ranked 9th before going 2-0 in winning the MIAC Tournament. However, they landed sixth in the final Regional Rankings – which has them on the road for Regionals. Regional-host Central are ranked #22 in the nation – but #1 in the Region.
Bethel’s success this season comes thanks to a deeply experienced roster. Seven players are seniors or graduate students – with infielder Allie Fauth-Kilgore playing her sixth season.
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The group’s experience includes making that first-ever NCAA appearance last season, which had plenty of carry-over into this season.
Playing at home in that 2022 Regional, the Royals won the tournament in dramatic fashion before bowing out in a Super Regional at Berry College (GA).
This year’s Regional opens Thursday at 2:00 p.m. against Wisconsin-LaCrosse in Pella, IA.