As the youngest program in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC), the Texas A&M University-San Antonio softball team made history Sunday reaching the finals in its third year while securing a spot in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series.
The team was runner-up in the double-header for the RRAC championship against Our Lady of the Lake University Saints. But Jags’ head coach Nicole Dufour reassured that the team is not done yet and emphasized the historical significance of the Jaguars making it to regionals.
“We got a regional bid; it’s the first time in school history any of our athletic teams are going to regionals,” Dufour said. “Now we just want to flush this and learn from it and get ready to be somewhere where not a lot of people think we would be.”
The Jaguars lost the first game 13-0 and the second 6-0.
Freshman pitcher Samara Aguilera went on the field fired up and expected to finish the season with a championship during her first year at A&M-San Antonio.
“We pushed till the end, supporting each other, and I was hoping for a different outcome but I’m very proud of all of us making it here,” Aguilera said.
Melissa Gonzalez, the senior first baseman, junior outfielder Yaya Jones, senior pitcher Ebbie Rodriguez and senior infielder Peyton Vasquez from the Jaguars were named by the Red River Athletic Conference into the 2023 RRAC All-Tournament Team.
The Jags endured through a conference tournament with a 3-2 win-loss record for the championship.
“We came out and did the best we could because that’s all we can do,” Vasquez said. We have to fight because throughout the tournament we have been trying to prove people wrong, no one expected us to be here.”
A&M-San Antonio improved their record each year since they joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 2021. They ended their 2021 season 9-24, the 2022 season 23-30 and the 2023 season 30-21.
Via YouTube live stream on May 9, the NAIA announced the Jags will be facing the Oklahoma City University Stars in Oklahoma City. This will be the Jaguars’ first appearance in the NAIA World Series.
“Our coaches, athletic department and school reminded us how far we’ve come in three years and the milestones we created,” Gonzalez said. “We got nothing to lose, and that has been our mentality – to leave everything on the field and keep competing.”