For the fifth time in program history and the first since 2013, the Carthage softball team will compete in the NCAA Division III Tournament today.

The Reds (26-14) earned an at-large bid out of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and will face Coe (Iowa) in a regional game at 1 p.m. at UW-Whitewater’s Van Steenderen Softball Diamond.

The Kohawks (32-9) received an at-large bid out of the American Rivers Conference and were ranked 19th in the latest NCAA Division III coaches poll.

The four-team region’s other game today will be at 3:30 p.m. and pits 23rd-ranked Whitewater (26-12) against Eureka (Ill.), which comes in at 27-6. The Warhawks got an at-large bid out of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Red Devils won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament to earn an automatic bid.

The regional is a double-elimination format, and games will continue at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The championship round will begin at noon on Sunday, with a second game to follow at 2:30 p.m., if necessary.

The winner advances to play the winner of the Illinois Wesleyan Regional in a best-of-3 super regional May 17 and 18 at a site to be determined. The finals, featuring eight teams, will be hosted by Texas-Tyler from May 23-28 at Suddenlink Field in Tyler, Texas.

Carthage has a 2-1 all-time record against Coe, a 6-26 mark against Whitewater and has never faced Eureka.

The Reds hosted the Warhawks in a non-conference doubleheader April 25 and were swept by scores of 10-6 and 4-0 in eight innings.

Carthage owns a 7-8 all-time record in NCAA Tournament play, with its other appearances coming in 1998, 2010 and 2012.

Mike Johnson