PAC Softball Title Up for Grabs in “Anyone’s Tournament”

By Justin Zackal


Westminster Titans are the top seed and host for the 2016 PAC Softball Championships.

Not since 2011 has a PAC softball team won the conference title as the top seed and tournament host. Still, Westminster prefers the home-field advantage as the Titans host the four-team, double-elimination tournament Friday and Saturday in New Wilmington.

“We obviously aren’t taking anything for granted,” said Westminster’s 20th-year head coach Jan Reddinger. “The top seed isn’t often as successful in this tournament because everyone is so evenly matched. The top four teams are so comparable and so close in talent that it could be anyone’s tournament.”

Find out whose tournament it will be by following all the action on the PAC Sports Network, which will stream video of every game, Friday at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (if necessary).

Reddinger is probably more aware of history than the young players on her team, and that’s just one reason why the team has enjoyed so much success this year.

“If I had to say during the season it was a good thing because they didn’t know who we were playing,” Reddinger said. “They didn’t realize Bethany hosted it last year and was the regular season champs last year, or that Thomas More won it last year. There was no fear of who we were playing. They played every team the same. That, to me, was a plus.”

The Titans might not want to read the following breakdown of each team’s tournament history, but here goes:

#1 Westminster (23-13, 16-2 PAC) is hosting its third PAC tournament (2013, 2007) as the Titans are seeking their second league championship (2005).

#2 Thomas More (30-8, 15-3 PAC) has won five of the last nine and two of the last three PAC championships, including last year and in 2013 when Westminster last hosted — and qualified for — the PAC tournament.

#3 Saint Vincent (24-12, 12-6 PAC) has never won a PAC championship but they hosted the tournament in 2012 and qualified last year as the fourth seed, finishing both seasons with a team-record 24 wins that were equaled again this year.

#4 Bethany (20-18, 12-6 PAC) hosted the tournament last year and the Bison’s 12 PAC titles are more than any other school, but they haven’t won since 2011.

Westminster’s two seniors, catcher Alexis Sheffer and pitcher Amber Forrest, are the only Titans who experienced a PAC tournament. Fourteen of the Titans’ 19 players are freshmen and sophomores, including sophomore pitcher Jazmyn Rohrer (12-7, 1.96 ERA) and freshman infielder Kailey Liverman (league highs of .496 batting average, 64 hits, 19 doubles, and 44 RBI).

The Titans cruised to a 19-game win streak before losing both games of a doubleheader last Friday at Thomas More, 4-1 and 5-4. Reddinger said the Titans didn’t take the Saints for granted, but she hopes losing had a positive effect.

“Now we know what it takes to beat a team like that,” Reddinger said. “Since we are hosting and the No. 1 seed, everyone assumes that we’re the team (to beat). Thomas More probably has a little more fear with everyone else just because they have a lot more experience at this than we do. One team has an advantage with experience and we have the advantage with it being at our place.”


Thomas More pitcher Mamee Salzer was the MVP of last year’s PAC tournament.

The player most capable of dictating the outcome of the tournament will be Thomas More senior pitcher Mamee Salzer (15-3, 2.17 ERA), who went 2-0 with a save last week, including a two-hit shutout at Bethany and a complete-game victory and a save in two wins over Westminster.

“All four teams that made it have tremendous pitching,” Reddinger said. “You never know with how your pitchers are, with injuries, how you’re hitting. It all has to come together and you only have two days for it to come together.”

That’s why the PAC tournament is so unpredictable and the regular season results don’t matter.

“It’s completely different,” Reddinger added. “There’s no room for making mistakes. When it comes down to this point it’s usually the team that wants it the most. It doesn’t always have to be the most talented team.”