No. 1 ranked Ducks take Howe Field to start regionals against Utah Valley: 'It's kind of like sacred ground, that field'

No. 1 ranked Ducks take Howe Field to start regionals against Utah Valley: 'It's kind of like sacred ground, that field'
Oregon Ducks Koral Costa (#7) celebrates at home with her team after hitting a homerun against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Ducks lost the first game of the three game series 4-2. Mary Jane Schulte, Oregon News Lab

We’ll have coverage of tonight’s match-up at Howe Field #liveonKMTR this evening.

EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon softball team was named the number one seed in the nation, and Duck fans are expected to flood Howe Field for the start to regional playoffs with Friday’s game against Utah Valley.

The team won 49 games this year and claimed its second straight back-to-back conference championship.

Pitcher Cheridan Hawkins goes into the division I regionals ranked ninth in the country in strikeouts.

 

The ducks offense averaged more than eight runs per game in conference play.

Before the teams take the field, three men went to work preparing the grounds for the important match up.

Bill Centrella has been the grounds keeper at Howe Field for 16 years.

“It's kind of like sacred ground, that field,” said Centrella, “There's a lot of pride in it."

As the team now sits atop the stack, this weekend’s series puts his field in front of more fans than usual.

“It's just really neat to come to the finish of their senior year with what kind of way they're playing ball right now,” said Centrella. “It's just really amazing how they're seeing the ball, how they're fielding."

"(I) just really love the way you play the game, girls, and I know you're going to do the university proud this weekend. So good luck and go Ducks,” said Centrella.