I have not covered softball as much as I have the other sports. There are a lot of reasons for that, but when a team is having as much success as this team has had in such short amount of time, it is to be duly noted. Having had a program that is now in it’s third year and that already has 85 wins and only 51 losses for a .600 winning percentage and has made one NCAA tournament apperance having only played 2 1/2 full seasons, this is something that I see TAMUC being good at and being a power at for a long time.
Adding softball has had a huge impact on the student body. Commerce used to be a pretty boring place during the Spring. Unless you were active in Intramural or Greek life, good luck on finding something to do during that time. Not so much anymore. John Cain Complex is the place to be and is both a relaxing place to catch a game and also an exciting place to be when a big game is in town.
The early success of the program is due to a lot of things. A good AD hired a good softball coach who recruited good players and continues to do so. Also, the program started at a time when the entire athletic department was basically being overhauled. Mediocrity was not going to be an option in ANY sport any longer and I feel like the Softball program felt that they should jump on the success train right off the bat (pun intended). Everything that the team needed to be successful has happened and that credit goes to our former President Dr. Dan Jones (RIP), Former AD Ryan Ivey, Current AD Tim McMurray, Head Coach Richie Bruister, and of course the girls out there who are playing hard and playing well.
The John Cain Complex is one the best softball facilities in all of North and Northeast Texas. Tim McMurray talks about being “best in class.” This is a best in class facility and I am so glad that when the program was being created they spared no expense in creating a great ballpark. For a college that is a Division II or lower, on the best things that happen is for high school players that are aspiring to be collegiate players to be exposed to a great college faculty and campus and think “you know, this place might be the best for me to play softball.” Recruits love that stuff, they love it.
Finally, onto this team and this season. 19-8 so far and a 7-4 record in conference. The only team the Lions have a trouble with so far seems to be Cameron, who beat the Lions pretty soundly in Commerce and are the cause of 3 of the 4 conference losses. However with strong showings against Tarleton, Midwestern and UT-Permian Basin, the rest of the field being competitive with Angelo State and West Texas, this is a winnable conference. Winning season? Check. NCAA tournament appearance? Check. Conference title? We will see…