Pending results from earlier this week, Central Arkansas Christian’s softball team will likely face the home team in the opening round of the 7-4A District Tournament at Arkansas Baptist.
The Lady Mustangs will play Friday, but coach Amy Zini said Sunday the time would depend upon the final seed. The tournament runs through Saturday. Heading into Monday’s game with Ashdown and Tuesday’s with Arkansas Baptist, she said her team was sixth in the conference standings.
But the Lady Mustangs may be peaking at just the right time.
CAC opened the week 6-13 overall and 2-3 in conference play. Last week the Lady Mustangs handled Pulaski Robinson in a conference game, 12-5; fell to Maumelle in a non-conference contest, 10-4; and went 1-2 in the Batesville tournament Saturday that was a make-up from the original March date.
At Batesville, CAC lost to the host team, beat Arkansas Baptist, 8-5, and then fell to Baptist, 3-2 — despite playing without senior catcher Catie Burleson.
"I was just so proud of the all-around group effort as far as defense went," Zini said. "We had very, very few errors the whole day. Honestly, it was a team effort. Without Catie, we were pretty proud of the way we played."
Obviously, the Lady Mustangs can compete with Arkansas Baptist, and they’ll likely need a win over the Lady Eagles in the opening round of the district tournament in order to finish among the top four to qualify for next week’s regional.
Zini said Burleson would be back this week.
The coach said her team was showing progress.
"Yes, absolutely," she said. "I believed in this team the whole year, not that we were going to place first in the conference, but that we have the ability to place in the top four. But I believe they haven’t believed that themselves, and that has shown in their play.
"But (last) weekend they played how they could play — and how they should play."