CLAREMORE, Okla. - Picked preseason to finish 6th in the Heartland Conference, Rogers State Hillcats proved doubters wrong over the weekend. They made their way perfect through the conference tournament to head to the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament since becoming a Division II school.
“First time is hard work and dedication,” senior pitcher Brock Knoten said. “Second time you're doing something special. Third time you become a powerhouse. We're just trying to help build the program the best we can.”
It all started with taking down Arkansas-Fort Smith then six-time defending conference champions St. Edwards in RSU’s first-ever conference tournament appearance. The Hillcats did it again a second time in the finals to earn an automatic qualifying bid with a 4-3 victory against the Hilltoppers.
“It puts a target on our back, but we're ready for it,” senior shortstop Zack Mann said.
They're turning that target into motivation to take into the RSU’s first NCAA tournament.
“You got to bring every game with the same mentality. You just can't let nerves get to you. Just play strong like we've been doing,” Mann said.
The Hillcats open NCAA action on Thursday against Lubbock Christian with a 7 o'clock first pitch in the South Central Region at Angelo State University.
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