TYLER, TX. -- It was the trek of all treks, but ultimately, the Williams College softball found itself in Tyler, Texas late Tuesday night in preparation for the 2019 NCAA Div. III national championship round (College World Series).
The day began with a 9:15 a.m. departure from Cole Field House on the Williams' campus. The bus ride to the Albany (N.Y.) International Airport was highlighted by a spirited game of "Headphones" led by Master MC Kristina Alvarado that featured strong singing performances from many, including Azaria Vargas, Mara Kipnis, and Kirstin Mapes. Head coach Kris Herman even made a guest appearance and brought the house down. There is no truth to the rumor there is video evidence of said occurrence.
From there it was an aviator's dream: Albany to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, the busiest airport in the nation, and then Altanta to Dallas-Forth Worth. After a stop for dinner at a Dallas' Panera Bread, the team braved a two-hour bus ride east to Tyler and arrived a the team hotel at 10:30 p.m. local time (11:30 EST).
Williams (38-5) will face Texas Lutheran (35-8) in its opening game Thursday at 2:30 p.m. EST. You can watch the webcast or follow live stats HERE. The format is a double elimination tournament that features two pods of four teams. The advancing team from each pod will then meet in a best-of-three game series on May 27-28 to determine the national champion.
The pace will quicken today as the Ephs start the morning with a 10 a.m practice at the University of Texas-Tyler, followed by a NCAA barbecue for all eight teams then a community service project at a local elementary school. The NCAA welcome banquet begins at 6:30 p.m.
This is the fourth appearance for the Ephs at the national championships, the previous three occurring in 2005-2006 and 2017.
The current senior class: co-captains Jessica Kim and Casey Pelz, classmates Mackenzie Murphy, Jill Jenkin and Kristina Alvarado - scheduled to graduate on Sunday, June 2nd -- will depart as the all-time winningest class in program history, currently holding a 150-37 (.802) mark. They are the third consecutive class to reach the NCAA Tournament all four years at Williams.