PLYMOUTH, N.H. - For the first time in five years, the Plymouth State University softball team has earned a post-season berth.
The Panthers received an invitation Monday to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England Tournament for the first time since winning the championship in 2003. The Panthers (25-14) are the #5 seed in this year's tourney, and will travel to fourth-seeded Western New England College (28-14) for a first-round game Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
There are three other first-round games on Wednesday. Top-seeded Brandeis University (34-9-1) will host eighth-seeded Emerson College (23-16); second-seeded Keene State College (25-12) entertains seventh-seeded Saint Joseph's College of Maine (26-26) and third-seeded Simmons College (31-9) plays host to sixth-seeded Nichols College (26-16).
The four winners on Wednesday will advance to a double-elimination tourney Saturday and Sunday at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Plymouth State earned the ECAC invitation after rattling off a school-record 14-game winning streak earlier this season, and posting 25 wins this spring, the second-most in a season in the program's history. PSU finished in a tie for fifth in the Little East Conference during the regular season, and registered a 1-2 record in the LEC Tournament.
Western New England earned a spot in the ECAC Tournament after finishing in third place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference during the regular season. The Golden Bears won their first two conference tournament games but were knocked out with losses to the top two seeds, Endicott and Nichols.
This will be Plymouth State's sixth appearance in the ECAC post-season tournament. PSU won the championship in its first appearance in 1985, and also captured the title in its most recent appearance in 2003. The Panthers also played in the tournament in 1992, 1994 and 2002.
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