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St. Scholastica opens with Coe in NCAA softball tourney

St. Scholastica will face Coe College to open the NCAA Division III Central Regional softball tournament Friday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The Saints (27-10) learned their fate Monday morning as the NCAA announced pairings for the 62-team tournament. Coe is 35-8 and ranked ninth in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll.

The other matchup at the four-team regional pits Augustana (Ill.) College against the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Times are to be determined.

This marks the first year the NCAA is using a format of 16 double-elimination regionals, followed by eight best-of-three super regionals the following weekend.

The Saints, coming off their 12th Upper Midwest Athletic Conference postseason tournament championship, are making their fourth Division III tournament appearance and first since 2012. St. Scholastica’s two NCAA victories came in regionals in 2006 and 2011.

Hudack named UMAC

player of the year

Tiff Hudack of Ashland has been a key cog in the Saints’

program-record 21-game win streak, and the senior outfielder was recognized Monday as the UMAC Player of the Year.

Hudack’s teammate, Chrisi Mizera, was chosen Rookie of the Year and Jen Walter was selected Coach of the Year.

Sophomores Rendi Johnson and Duluth Denfeld graduate Nikki Logergren joined Hudack and Mizera on the All-UMAC first team.

Hudack leads the team with a .427 batting average, including .509 in league games, and has tied the program record of 50 runs scored in a season. She is two RBIs shy from becoming the seventh Saint in program history to record at least 100 hits, runs scored and RBIs in a career.

Mizera led the conference in strikeouts per game (11.4) and ERA in conference play (1.20).

Johnson, last year’s UMAC top rookie, is tied for the team lead with six home runs and is batting .414, while recording a

6-2 pitching record.

Logergren, who joined the team after hockey season concluded, had a slugging percentage of .868, with five home runs and 13 extra-base hits in 18 league games.

Walter, who recorded her 400th career victory during the season, won her eighth coach of the year award.