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|The postseason has its light moments as, from top to bottom, Sydney Shannon, Kaydee Rayburn, Nicole Morgan and Cassie Tysarczyk wait for the rain to stop before practice Wednesday.|
Since the last blog, Texas A&M softball won our series against Mississippi State and traveled to the SEC tournament in Lexington, Ky. With the way the seedings worked out, we faced Alabama in the opener and dropped a tough back-and-forth loss.
Though the Tide came back in the bottom of the seventh to win the game, we took so many positive things away from it. We fought back from a huge deficit and never quit against an extremely talented opponent. Heading back to the Lone Star State, we knew we were ready to begin our journey in the NCAA tournament.
After practice under the lights and a catered Texas BBQ dinner on Sunday, our team eagerly watched the selection show. Fortunate enough to be granted the No. 16 seed in the tournament, the Aggies will host a regional in good ol' College Station!
As the names of the schools attending our regional appeared on the screen -- Baylor, Arizona and Penn -- our players, coaches and staff took a deep breath of relief.
We are student-athletes at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. All the girls on the team understand how lucky we are to play for our coaching staff; we wouldn't trade these empowering women for the world. As I've said before, Texas A&M also has the best fans in the country. If you don't believe me, tune into our games this weekend on ESPN2 to see for yourself!
Here's a fun fact for y'all. The SEC tournament allows the top 10 teams in the conference to participate based on winning percentage. Every single team invited to the SEC tournament got a bid into the NCAA tournament, along with one other school in Mississippi State. The SEC leads the nation with 11 schools that received a bid. Talk about a power conference. We are so proud of everyone -- way to represent the SEC!
Moments like Sunday night give us all a reality check. We realize only 64 teams make the cut into the tournament. While most teams have concluded their journeys and packed up for the summer, it's humbling to be blessed with the opportunity to continue our season.
In the end, hard work pays off. Every lifting session, gasser test, late-night practice and extra rep at the ballpark has led us to this moment. We've had our share of bumps in the road this year and have learned many lessons. Every puzzle piece is in place, and we are hungry to make a run for it.
During practice this week, the girls and I have used one quote countless times: "It's not about how you start. It's about how you finish."
Let the mayhem begin.