In their first season as a member of the River States Conference (RSC) and their first year in the NAIA, it was a long shot for the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) softball team to win the regular-season West Division, much less win the conference tournament. But that is exactly what they did.
SMWC ended the regular season in first place in the West with a 29-13 record, 19-7 in the conference. As fate would have it, the Pomeroys faced the overall No. 1 seed, Rio Grande, in the Conference Championship game. Interestingly, SMWC had given Rio Grande one of their only two losses in conference play earlier in the season, and then defeated them earlier in the tournament leading up to the championship game. In a come-from-behind five-run rally in the final inning, they defeated the Red Storm 8-5 to claim the title in their first season in the RSC.
That win gave the Pomeroys a bid to the NAIA National Tournament and the opportunity to play in the regional opening round in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Close losses to No. 1 seed Central Methodist University of 1-0 and No. 2 Campbellsville University of 4-3 ended the Pomeroy’s historic season.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” head coach Jim Walker said. “The fact that we’re a first-year NAIA program, picked seventh in the conference in the preseason and to be playing in an NAIA regional, these girls have a lot to be proud of. We played five Top 25 teams in the country and have lost by a total of five runs. That shows how close we are as a program to getting to where we want to be.” Walker’s message to the Pomeroys was to be proud of all that was accomplished in a year that included a River States Conference Tournament championship in the first year in the league. Lyric Krause is one of many key players returning for a relatively young roster that looks to come back even stronger in 2023. “It’s definitely bittersweet. We’ll turn a new chapter for a season next year. We have a lot of talent incoming that will help boost some spots. It’s going to come down to the work we put in the offseason and knowing us and how much we hate losing, I think we’ll be able to go further than we did this year.”