Amidst the storms in southern Illinois, I almost forgot the SIU softball team was in action in search of a Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Unfortunately for the Salukis, when I was able to get Internet and power in Mount Vernon, Ill., I was disappointed to find out they were upended again by a lower-seeded team. And here's the kicker.
It was the host, Bradley. Excuse my while I head to the bathroom of this Holiday Inn and shove my index finger down my throat to induce vomiting.
(Seriously, of all the Valley programs, Bradley is likely the last one I'm cheering for.)
The Braves (24-26) knocked off Southern (33-13) in the semifinals and will move on to the championship game where they will play a game I do not care particularly about. Covering Saluki softball was fun all year and I was hoping the team would be able to pull out a MVC Tourney championship to secure an auto bid.
Now, it's all up in the air.
SIU spent nine weeks ranked in the USA Today Top-25 polls before it started a late-season slide which sent the team to a second-place finish. It's a shame the Salukis couldn't pull it off -- a day after being snubbed with only third baseman Katie Wagner and second baseman Alicia Garza representing the school as second-team all-conference players.
Seeing the Salukis in person throughout the year, and looking at some of the eye-popping numbers put up by Chelsea Held (.356 average, .548 slugging), Haley Gorman (.322 average, .369 on-base percentage) and Nikki Waters (9-0, 1.27 ERA in MVC games), I'm still trying to figure out Southern getting snubbed.
It doesn't matter though, the season is over ... for now. Kind of.
SIU could get an at-large bid and is deserving of one, but will have to agonizingly wait out the selection process which kicks off Sunday on ESPNU at 9 p.m. CT.