Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mountain West to add postseason softball tourney

The Mountain West will add a postseason softball tournament championship, beginning in the 2016 season, according to a press release issued Wednesday morning.

The tournament, which will include all nine Mountain West softball teams, will be a single-elimination format over three days (Thursday through Saturday) on the last week of the regular season beginning in 2016.  It was announced that the host sites of the tournament will be on a rotating basis, with the first three championship hosts being San Diego State (2016), Fresno State (2017) and UNLV (2018).

"We feel this is a big benefit for our student-athletes," said a conference official who asked not to be named.  "We've had a baseball tournament for years, and finally decided that our female athletes deserve that same chance.  A tournament atmosphere helps everyone involved, and really creates a great week for not only our student-athletes and coaches, but for our many fans as well.  It will be a boost for the conference as a whole," she continued.

The format, beginning in 2016, will be as follows:

Thursday, May 12
Game 1 - No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 seed, 9 am
Game 2 - No. 1 seed vs. winner of game 1, 11:30 am
Game 3 - No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed, 2 pm
Game 4 - No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed, 4:30 pm
Game 5 - No. 2 seed vs. No. 7 seed, 7 pm

Friday, May 13
Game 6 - Winner of game 2 vs. Winner of game 3, 4:30 pm
Game 7 - Winner of game 4 vs. Winner of game 5, 7 pm

Saturday, May 14
Game 8 - Winner of game 6 vs. Winner of game 7, noon

"We are very excited about the conference going in this direction," the spokeswoman said.  "We have 18 sports, 16 of which are currently decided through a tournament championship.  For too long we've made softball and women's volleyball feel like outsiders since they don't have tournaments.  But hey, we're correcting that now."

League coaches, when contacted about the new tournament by phone Wednesday, were ecstatic.  New Mexico volunteer assistant coach Jennifer McKibben said, "I love it!  And you can quote me on that.  Even spell it out.  L as in capital L, a big old O as in O, then add a capital V, and finally stick a big old E on the end.  Use all caps as in LOVE.  I'm so happy for our girls."

McKibben, overcome with emotion at the revelation of the tournament championship format, said through tears, "I've never been happier."

One representative of a team that asked to remain anonymous, said through a spokesperson, "I'm not optimistic about this whole tournament deal.  I don't want my team to lose because of some cheap hits.  Is it OK if we blame a loss on that?"

And for those still reading, of course this is our annual April Fool's joke, and hopefully it added just a touch of a smile to your day.  All quotes are fake and this was meant in fun.  As far as we know, there is no plan for a conference postseason tournament and the league will continue to decide its champion based on regular-season play only.