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Softball stadium revamps for 2013 WAC Tournament

April 18, 2013

 

DEVIN KING
Sports Reporter

 

Construction on the Lady Techsters Softball Complex will be completed before they host the 2013 WAC Tournament. – Photo by Deepanjan Mukhopadhyay

As the Lady Techsters softball season begins to wind down, Bulldog fans still have a big local event to prepare for – the Western Athletic Conference Tournament is coming to Ruston.

 

“This is a culminating event for us at the end of next month,” said Mark Montgomery head softball coach. “It is like having a final or graduation at the end of the year. To be able do this in your own environment, there a is sense of comfort and relaxation.”

 

The 2013 WAC softball tournament will be held May 8-11 at the Lady Techsters Softball Complex.

 

Montgomery sees hosting the WAC tournament as an honor for the Lady Techsters.

 

“It is exciting and a honor to host a tournament on your venue,” Montgomery said. “You feel like the kids are able to stay more on their routine. They are able to wake up in the morning and go to class.”

 

This will be the Lady Techsters’ first and last WAC tournament before joining Conference-USA next fall.

 

Malcolm Butler, associate athletics director for media relations at Tech, is excited about the  opportunity for the Tech softball team and university itself.

 

“It is an advantage for us to play on our own field,” Butler said. “We are excited and we hope the community of Ruston comes out and the student body comes out to support the tournament.”

 

The immediate challenges for Tech hosting a WAC softball tournament are construction, remodeling and making changes to the Lady Techsters Softball Complex, but Butler is looking at the bigger picture.

 

“They are building a new building that will include bathrooms, a ticket office, a concession stand and a new batting cage,” said Butler.

 

Butler said seating capacity at the Lady Techster Softball Complex is being expanded from 400 to 500 people for the WAC Championships and that there will be bleacher back seats available.

 

“They are doing the construction in steps because of time and budget restraints,” Butler said. “They (the Tech softball team) have a conference series around the end of April and we hope by then we have the stands in place and the construction is finished by May 8.”

 

As the construction takes place on the softball complex, Montgomery does not feel like it has caused the Lady Techsters any problems.

 

“I do not think it distracts them,” Montgomery said. “They are focused on the game and they understand it is part of the growing pains. If we are going be there at the end and have nice facilities then this stuff has to be here now.”

 

Despite all the construction being done to the softball complex, senior infielder Megan Knowles has embraced this moment.

 

“It is really exciting for my team and this is my senior year,” Knowles said. “It is going be a great environment, we have a new stadium coming up and hopefully we can get a huge crowd out here come championship.”

 

Even though the Lady Techsters are embracing this moment to the host the WAC tournament, Montgomery believes it can serve as a disadvantage for the Lady Techsters.

 

“When you are playing at home, you have relatives and friends in town that you have not seen in a  while,” said Montgomery.

 

Even with the advantages and disadvantages, Knowles feels there is no pressure to perform to a certain standard in the WAC tournament and Montgomery agrees.

 

“I think there is sense of desire, they want this bad,” Montgomery said. “If there is pressure, I do not think it is by the fans but by (the players) themselves. They understand this is a process; they have to go out there and be themselves. If they do that correctly, hopefully we will be there at the end.”

 

The Lady Techsters will need to focus and have dedication through the rest of season and he said this is key heading into the WAC tournament.

 

“They are going to play in front of an energize crowd and play for something,” Montgomery said. “You are playing for a berth to the NCAA tournament. Putting this event on our field gives us a sense of pride and desire to achieve.”

 

Email comments to dki008@latech.edu.


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