15 x - Morningside19-3.86447-10.82520-315-212-5Lost 2
RVDoane17-4.81033-16.67318-411-84-4Lost 1
 Dakota Wesleyan15-7.68233-22.6009-612-1012-6Lost 2
 Hastings12-10.54537-21.6387-1013-917-2Lost 1
 Concordia10-10.50030-18.6256-410-1014-4Lost 1
 Dordt10-10.50024-22.52212-49-103-8Lost 2
 Nebraska Wesleyan10-12.45520-20.5007-57-136-2Lost 2
 Midland10-12.45522-29.4316-68-118-12Lost 2
 Northwestern8-14.36420-29.4088-109-173-2Won 3
 College of Saint Mary7-15.31819-19.5009-75-95-3Lost 1
 Briar Cliff6-16.27317-27.38610-62-145-7Lost 4
 Mount Marty6-16.27315-24.3856-64-105-8Won 1
x - Regular Season Champion
1Oklahoma City University
2Auburn University Montgomery
3Saint Gregory's University
4Campbellsville University
5Saint Xavier University
6Lindsey Wilson
7Simpson University
8William Carey University
9Louisiana State University-Alexandria
10Southeastern University
10Martin Methodist
15Morningside College
RVDoane University
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Saturday, May 28
(3)Saint Gregory's University at 9
(15)Morningside 6
NAIA Softball World Series - Morningside Jensen Softball Complex (Elimination Game)
Friday, May 27
(RV)Webber International at 5
(15)Morningside 2
NAIA Softball World Series - Morningside Jensen Softball Complex
Wednesday, May 18
University of Great Falls at 5
(15)Morningside 8
NAIA National Championship - Opening Round (Morningside Bracket Championship)
Tuesday, May 17
(RV)Doane vs (18) 0
(20)University of Houston - Victoria 1
NAIA National Championship - Opening Round
(RV)Doane vs (8) 1
(25)Friends University 0
NAIA National Championship - Opening Round
University of Great Falls at 1
(15)Morningside 4
NAIA National Championship - Opening Round (Morningside Bracket, Winners Bracket)
Monday, May 16
(RV)Doane vs 1
(1)Oklahoma City University 2
NAIA National Championship - Opening Round
(23)Grand View University at 6
(15)Morningside 9
NAIA National Championship - Opening Round (Morningside Bracket)
Saturday, May 7
(RV)Doane at (5) 0
(15)Morningside 8
GPAC Tournament - Championship Series (best of 3)
(RV)Doane at 1
(15)Morningside 2
GPAC Tournament - Championship Series (best of 3)
Thursday, May 5
Nebraska Wesleyan University at 1
(RV)Doane 5
GPAC Tournament - Doane Bracket
Nebraska Wesleyan University at 1
Doane 5
GPAC Tournament (Doane Bracket Championship #2)
Hastings at 1
(15)Morningside 3
GPAC Tournament (Morningside Bracket Championship)
Concordia at 1
Hastings 3
GPAC Tournament Elimination Round
Nebraska Wesleyan University vs 5
Dakota Wesleyan 0
GPAC Tournament - Doane Bracket (Elimination Game)
Wednesday, May 4
Midland vs 1
Concordia 3
GPAC Tournament - Elimination Game
Nebraska Wesleyan University vs (5) 11
Dordt 3
GPAC Tournament - Doane Bracket (Elimination Game)
Hastings at 4
(15)Morningside 5
GPAC Tournament Winners Bracket
Dakota Wesleyan at 1
(RV)Doane 4
GPAC Tournament - Doane Bracket
Midland at 0
(15)Morningside 4
GPAC Tournament
News Photo
Mount Marty's Fernandez Shows Strength in Face of Adversity
Softball - Fri, May. 10, 2013

BY JAMES D. CIMBUREK, Yankton Press and Dakotan

It is not often that the coach of a 6-22 team shares in a league's Coach of the Year honors. Then again, not too many coaches have had a season like Mount Marty softball coach Albert Fernandez.

Fernandez, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer last fall and underwent months of treatments before the season, was recognized by his peers as the Great Plains Athletic Conference's co-Coach of the Year, sharing the honor with Troy Baker of league champion Hastings.

"It's an amazing testament to the strength of what Albert did," said GPAC commissioner Corey Westra. "This goes beyond wins and losses. It's about human strength."

Fernandez had the respect of his GPAC peers prior to the season, having earned league Coach of the Year honors in 2011.

"Albert has always been widely respected." Westra said. "He does it the right way."

When he was first diagnosed, Fernandez had said that he fully intended to be back in time for the opening practices of the season. Despite being weakened by both the cancer and its treatment, he missed just one doubleheader the entire season.

"It's very important to the healing process," said Westra, who said that his father had also been treated for cancer. "When you can put something in front of you and you can reach it, it helps you, helps your cause."

He had also hoped to keep the focus on the field, as senior catcher Gabi Cardenas discovered when she and assistant coach Amanda Volgarino, a former player for Fernandez, went to visit him in the hospital.

"It was hard because we didn't know what was going on. I was scared," she said. "Amanda and I went to visit him the day he got out of surgery, and he said, 'Aren't you supposed to be at practice?'

"He tried to avoid dwelling on it. He was there for us. He didn't like us to cater to him. He wanted us to keep working."

The team started slowly — a combination of its youth and a sporadic schedule caused by this spring's weather — but finished with a flourish. MMC played 10 games — five doubleheaders — on the final six days of the season, winning five of them, including one over GPAC runner-up Morningside, which made the NAIA Opening Round. MMC also won league games over GPAC tourney teams Nebraska Wesleyan and Briar Cliff, then ended the season with a sweep of tourney qualifier Dakota Wesleyan.

It was MMC's first conference sweep in two years, and MMC will open the 2014 season riding a three-game win streak.

"I was so proud of them for how they finished," Fernandez said. "It shows there is a lot of potential on this team."

MMC athletic director Chuck Iverson felt that Fernandez and the team handled the season admirably.

"Talk about a tough year. He's working through his issues, and then it was just a tough spring for softball and baseball," he said. "I was so impressed with how the team finished the season out. I'm so proud of the effort that he and the team showed."

Freshman pitcher Jessica Finch helped the team get past some of the "little things" that can distract a squad.

"I think it pushed us a lot," she said. "If somebody was whining about some little thing, we only had to look at Coach to put things in perspective."

Junior outfielder Jamie Gregory said the experiences of this season will stay with the team for a long time.

"Now that we've been through this, next year will be 10 times better," she said. "We're going to be more successful, and we'll have a chance to go to the conference tournament."

Photo from Yankton Press and Dakotan