The Southern Conference softball tournament will return to Chattanooga in 2015, the league announced at the end of spring meetings Friday.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will host the tournament May 6-9 at Jim Frost Stadium at Warner Park for the first time since 2010. The SoCon also announced that UTC will also host the men's and women's tennis championships in 2016.
"I am happy to have the tournament back in Chattanooga," UTC softball coach Frank Reed said in a released statement. "I think we have the best facilities in the conference and believe we run a great event. I hope coming to Chattanooga is something all of the teams in the SoCon can look forward to, and it's great that we have the chance to play for a title in front of our fans."
Next season's tournament will be the 10th time UTC has hosted the event, and the Lady Mocs have won the SoCon tourney title five of the nine previous times the event has been at Frost Stadium.
UTC will enter the 2015 tournament as the reigning SoCon tourney champion after winning the 2o14 title in Greensboro, N.C., last month, and rising senior pitcher Taylor Deason thinks she and her teammates are primed to repeat, especially with the tournament being on their home field.
"Now that we're back to where we can be, we know that we have to maintain that and we have the talent to maintain that as well," she said in a phone interview Monday. "To have our friends and family and classmates and maybe even professors supporting us would be awesome."
UTC boasts top-rate facilities for the tournament, with bullpens and batting cages behind each dugout and climate-controlled locker rooms behind the dugouts, and the Lady Mocs' indoor facility is available in the event of inclement weather.
"It's always special to host the tournament," Reed said. "It's a great chance for our fans to watch Southern Conference softball, it serves as an economic boost for our community and it gives us a chance to put our beautiful city on display."
The SoCon will have a different look next season in softball with the departure of Elon, Appalachian State and 2014 regular-season champ Georgia Southern. Mercer and East Tennessee State will join the conference in softball in 2015.
Deason said she is happy to hear that she will get a few more games in front of UTC's fans in her final season with the Lady Mocs.
"It will be pretty exciting with it being my last year being there, and the other seniors last year," she said. "Just to have those extra games on the field and our home crowd cheering us on will be an awesome experience."
Contact Jim Tanner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6478. Follow him at twitter.com/JFTanner.
Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...