The West Virginia University women's head basketball coach will be joined by Ron Justice, Morgantown mayor and WVU assistant dean of students; Jason Gross, WVU student body president; Gordon Shilling, Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners manager of athletics; and Peggy Nesselroade, a former WVU varsity softball player - also scheduled to make opening tosses.
As the defending championship team, WVU has the honor of playing host to the tournament, which is expected to draw 700-900 players, family members and other fans April 19-22. More than 20 teams from across the country will compete for the championship title.
"As far as softball, this is probably the biggest thing to happen in this area," WVU coach Paul Cayton said. "To have a college tournament is pretty impressive, and the city of Morgantown has been great. It's kind of like - wow. It's something you dream about, but don't think it's going to be a reality."
Games will take place Wednesday, April 19, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thursday, April 20, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, April 21, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Saturday, April 22, at 10 a.m. with the championship game set for 2 p.m.
"Our team definitely earned the right to host the nationals, and we have a pretty good shot at repeating," Cayton said.
Members of WVU's club softball team are Rebekah Carper, Whitney Cayton, Nina Deel, Lachelle Dundar, Kelly Eustice, Allison Gasti, Ashley Gray, Jess Metzner, Rachael Miller, J.P. Pieper, Megan Pritt, Mertz Remus, Amanda Shrewsberry, Ashley Snedegar, Leah Sommerer, Heather Spears, Heidi Spears, Katy Stentz, Nichole Vondrus and Erin Wear.
Teams participating include Bowling Green State University, College of New Jersey, East Washington University, James Madison University, Kansas State University, Miami (Ohio) University, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, Ohio University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Virginia, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, Virginia Tech, Washington State University and Weber State University.
"(Coach) Mark Wilson, Paul and the players pulled together WVU, BOPARC, the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) and parents to get the planning started," Justice said. "We are now just a day away from what looks to be one of the best organized and hosted tournaments in the long history of the event."