Bearkat senior softball players Hailey Wiginton and Alex Survant are on a quest.
Sam Houston State will host the 2011 Southland Conference softball tournament Thursday through Saturday, May 12-14.
Even though last weekend's three-game series with Southeastern Louisiana was the last home date on the 2011 regular season schedule, the pair are determined the Bearkats will be playing on their home field one more weekend.
"We have a lot of games left and, if we do what we need to, we'll be back on the field playing in the tournament in two weeks," Survant said.
Wiginton and Survant, who start at shortstop and left field, respectively, are the only two seniors on the 2011 Bearkat roster. In order to extent their final season, Sam Houston must finish among the top six teams in the final regular season standings and, coming into a weekend road trip to Central Arkansas, the Kats stand seventh by just one-half game.
"It hasn't hit either of us yet about our careers coming to a close," Wiginton said. "But right now our concern is fighting our way back into the Southland Tournament."
Wiginton and Survant were starters on teams that earned tournament berths both their freshman and sophomore seasons in 2008 and 2009 and the pair are determined to return their senior year.
"The best thing about our team is how close we are," Wiginton said. "Even in the bad times we've stayed close."
"That's what has helped us get through the tough losses," Survant added. "We have to pull together and get it done."
Both Wiginton and Survant came to Sam Houston after decorated high school and club careers.
Wiginton was a four-time first team all-district shortstop for Friendswood High School and a top player for Team Texas AFA softball club. Survant was an all-state and all-district outfielder for Bryan High School and played for Cy Fair Intruders Gold.
"What impressed me most on my recruiting visit was how close all the athletes at Sam Houston were," Wiginton said. "Not just the softball team, but all the athletes. I saw a softball practice but most of the time we spent at a volleyball tournament. I had other universities I was scheduled to visit, but I canceled the trips and signed with the Bearkats."
"It's like one big family here," Survant added. "Coach (Bob) Brock has a passion for the game that few other coaches possess and we've all learned a lot. The family atmosphere here has made it a tremendous experience."
Wiginton and Survant have developed into strong leaders for the Bearkat softball team. Wiginton ranks third in the Southland Conference in total hits, fourth in home runs and ninth in hitting with a .338 average. Survant sports a .300 batting mean.
Besides helping lead the Bearkats into the tournament, Wiginton also is writing her name all over the Sam Houston softball record book. She stands first in career doubles (37), second in career runs (125), hits (224) and home runs (18) and fourth in Bearkat total at bats (629). Her career batting average stands at .350.
Both agreed their most memorable moment in their Bearkat careers to date was participating in the longest softball game in Sam Houston history - a 14-inning marathon with nationally ranked Texas A&M on February 11, 2009 at the Bearkat Softball Complex.
"The whole team played so well that night," Wiginton said. "It was just an amazing game. The Aggies finally pulled it out 2-1, but it was a battle."
Both seniors plan to remain on the Sam Houston campus a while longer.
Survant earned her bachelor's degree in December and currently is working on her master's degree in health. Wiginton will graduate in May and begin work on her graduate degree in curriculum instruction.
Tickets for the Southland post-season tournament May 12-14 are available online at www.gobearkats.com/tickets or at the SHSU athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium. Ticket office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The ticket office telephone number is (936) 294-1729.
The event will mark the second time in the last five years at Sam Houston has hosted the event. The Bearkats earned their first NCAA Division I national tournament berth in 2007 when SHSU won the tournament crown in Huntsville.
Tentative schedule for the 2011 Southland Conference softball tournament:
Thursday, May 12
Game 1 - No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed - 11 a.m.
Game 2 - No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed - 1:30 p.m.
Game 3 - No. 1 seed vs. Game 1 winner - 4 p.m.
Game 4 - No. 2 seed vs. Game 2 winner - 6:30 p.m.
Friday, May 13
Game 5 - Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser - 11 a.m.
Game 6 - Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser - 1:30 p.m.
Game 7 - Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner - 4 p.m.
Game 8 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 14
Game 9 - Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 winner - 11 a.m.
Game 10 - Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner - 1:30 p.m.
Game 11 - If necessary - 4 p.m.