The four bottom seeded teams in both brackets will start tournament play Sunday in a single elimination format with the winners moving into the double elimination part of each bracket. The baseball tournament will begin at high noon on Sunday as the 10th-seeded Cougars will play seventh-seeded Motlow State with the winner advancing to play second seeded and the nationally eighth-ranked Senators of Walters State on Monday at 10 a.m. The eight vs. nine matchup between Southwest Tennessee and Roane State will follow with the winner moving on to play top seeded and nationally fourth-ranked Columbia State Monday.
On the ladies side of the bracket, Roane State (No. 8 seed) and Jackson State (No. 9 seed) will start the ball rolling at 2 p.m. with the winner facing top seeded and nationally second-ranked Chattanooga State on Monday at noon. The No. 7-No. 10 matchup between Motlow State and Dyersburg will follow with the winner of that game advancing to play second-seeded Volunteer State on Monday at 4 p.m.
The fifth seed Cleveland State Lady Cougars will open tourney play on Monday morning at 10 a.m. against fourth seeded Columbia State. The final opening round game will pit third seeded Walters State against the sixth seeded Lady Saluqis of Southwest Tennessee.
“I call tournament time the underdog season and compare it a little to March Madness in basketball,” explained Lady Cougars coach Katie Willingham. “When you get to tournament time anyone can beat anyone, no matter how well or how poorly you played them in the past. At tournament time, you put everything in the past and focus on one game at a time and that is what we are going to do.
“We want to build on our momentum that we had at the end of the regular season, but I really don’t think that will be a big factor either way,” Willingham continued. “Most other conferences don’t have such a big layoff, but we do. A week and a half off is a long time, but I think it will be even for both teams. It helped us get healthy and rest some bodies and ankles and backs and all the little ailments, but it’s really up to the girls as to whether they are focused and ready to play. We are excited and can’t wait to get out there and get started.”
Other first round baseball matchups will be the host Tigers of Chattanooga State (third seed) and the sixth seeded Dyersburg State team while Volunteer State and Jackson State will tangle in a four/five matchup.
“In basketball, you see all the underdogs jump up in the tournament and do well and shock the world,” the coach concluded. “Well, that’s what we hope to do. We’ve got nothing to lose and we are just going to go out and have fun and try to do our best. Motlow, Volunteer and Chattanooga have all been to the National Tournament in the last three years and we’ve never been. So why not us, we are rested and ready to go and who knows, maybe we can surprise someone along the way.”
All tournament games will be webcast through Chattanooga State via U-Stream TV.