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College of Idaho softball team prepares for national championship qualifier

Posted at 12:07 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 14:07:38-04

CALDWELL, Idaho — The College of Idaho finished second in the Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament earning an at large bid into the NAIA National Championship Qualifier, the Yotes have gone 44-19 this season.

The Yotes will take on Ottawa out of Kansas on Monday at 1:30 p.m. our time, the Yotes split with Ottawa this year and defeated them last year in the final tournament as the College of Idaho finished third in the nation.

The Yotes returned a lot of their players from last years team, that came with really high expectations going into this season but the team has hit a few bumps in the road.

"Honestly I feel this season has given us a lot of learning opportunities to improve ourselves," said senior Haley Loffer. "It has been an interesting season for sure, but with how we are doing right now I will take how this season went."

The College of Idaho hit their stride in their conference tournament finishing second, the Cascade Collegiate Conference has four teams represented in the qualifer regional tournaments this year.

"Once you get to this point all the teams are good there are 40 teams left out of 200 teams across the nation," said manager Al Mendiola. "We just have to go and compete the two things we ask our girls is compete and have energy."

Only one team makes it out of the regional in a double elimination format, the Yotes will play in Chickasha Oklahoma with the number one seed the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, College of Idaho is the two seed, Ottawa earned the three seed and Mount Marty will be the four.

The girls are finishing up finals week right now and continue their preparations to build on this program's success, the Yotes have made three consectutive appearances in the National Championship Qualifier and four total.

Senior short stop Haley Loffer came to Caldwell from Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene and she calls it the best decision of her life so far.

"The girls are amazing, Al’s amazing, Bobby is amazing and we just have amazing people on this team and on this campus," said Loffer. "The memories I have made I will never forget there are so many crazy things that have happened in my four years here and it is nothing I would ever want to change."

Loffer who has an amazing 478 batting average also announced she will use her extra year of eligibility to come back next season as well.

"I am coming back for a fifth year so you are not done with me yet," said Loffer.

But first the Yotes will try to make a strong run to end this season and they have championship experience that they can use to their advantage.

"We have a really good well rounded team between pitching, defense and offense," said Mendiola. "I think we still have a lot to accomplish."

The qualifer happens Monday through Wednesday and after that there will be ten teams remaining for the NAIA World Series.