Weather spurs playoff change

All MIAC teams will compete in a playoff beginning on May 3.

Gino Terrell, Reporter

Before this season, softball head coach James Rubbelke said, “[the team’s] number one goal is to make the playoffs.”

He said they would need to finish in the top four of the conference in order to compete in the MIAC playoffs. Once they made playoffs, their goal was to win the MIAC tournament to move on to the divisional round.

However, due to this spring’s weather, teams have had to postpone and cancel so many games that some couldn’t finish their season on schedule. Even before the season, Rubbelke was concerned about the weather.

“It might be a challenging year as far as weather is concerned,” he said.

The Pipers were scheduled for numerous games in April and Rubbelke was worried the postponement of games would cram their schedule.

“Obviously, if we’re playing well and winning, that’s all we want to do, is keep playing, playing, playing. But if [we’re] losing every once and a while and want to work on something, [we] may not have the practice time to do that,” he said.

In this case, the Pipers have found success. The Pipers have had a winning season, including a five-game winning streak, and have been near the top of the conference the last few weeks. Their performance has put them in position to reach their goal, and with this year’s MIAC tournament, it puts them in an even better position.

Last Tuesday, the MIAC introduced the 2013 softball playoff tournament, which will include all 12 MIAC teams. MIAC softball coaches and athletic directors have been working together to create a tournament where every team in the conference would have a fair shot to earn an automatic bid for the NCAA Division III Softball Playoffs.

“Everyone worked together to [create] a solution to provide a great experience for student-athletes that have faced a lot of frustration this spring,” MIAC Executive Director Dan McKane said, according to the Hamline Athletics webpage.

On Friday, May 3, all 12 teams will be competing and playing two games. The teams will be divided into four pools. The winners of the four pools will enter a double elimination tournament that will take place Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5.

Tomorrow the league will officially have the tournament bracket in place. Once the seeds are determined and the Pipers know who they will be playing this Friday at Casewell Park in Mankato, Minn., it will be time to play ball.