Lions prepare to face #6 Rogers State in MIAA tournament opener

The Lions face the Hillcats on Thursday in Oklahoma City.

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri Southern softball team is back in the MIAA tournament.

“It’s exciting. A brand new season starts now,” says head coach Hallie Blackney, “I’m proud of our kids for making it to the post-season. We’ve had a lot of adversity, but we’ve stuck together and we’ve taken it on together. We’re excited to play in Oklahoma City, because there’s nothing better.”

The Lions are the #6 seed in the tournament, and will face Rogers State in the first round on Thursday in OKC.

The Hillcats are the #3 seed in the tournament and are currently ranked 6th in the national rankings.

Missouri Southern is heading to Oklahoma City with an underdog mindset.

“I always view us as the underdogs. I like it,” Blackney says, “We could be the 8 seed going into play the 1 seed and I don’t care. I always view us as the underdog. Having last year as experience going to Oklahoma City and playing there and getting that under our belt, I’m really hoping that pays off this week.”

Rogers State went 20-6 against MIAA competition this spring, including two wins over Missouri Southern in Joplin – beating the Lions 1-0 and 6-3.

“We got a good chance to see their pitcher and see what we need to do better at the plate to have a better approach against her,” says senior outfielder Tori Frazier, “We threw really well against them and had a great defense. We just need to pick it up on the offensive side and we’ll be good.”

“They have the best pitcher in the country. Pitching is name of their game,” Blackney says of Rogers State, “If we can hit their pitchers Andrea Morales and M’Kayla Hillman, we’ll be OK. We’re going to have to find a way to score some runs.”

First pitch for Thursday’s game will be at 4:00 PM.