TYLER, TEXAS (KETK)-For the first time in division 2, the UT Tyler Patriot softball team is heading to the national tournament something they say is surreal.

That last out stung the UT Tyler Patriots but players say they are using that as motivation to get them ready for the national tournament.

“It kind of hit us hard but we know that, it lit a fire in us and fueled us to want to work harder this week coming up during practice and leading up to the games on Thursday and it just fueled us to be better,” says Catcher Ashley Perez.

“We’re using that loss against Commerce that we had as fuel for fire underneath us and making us hungry for this next weekend because we know this weekend is going to really count so we want to use that loss as something to make us strive and just want to win,” adds Pitcher Tatum Goff.

Although the patriots lost in the semi final round of the LSC tournament, they received an at large bid to the DII NCAA Tournament, the first one in program history.

“I’m so excited this is my first time in my collegiate career to go so I’m just stoked for it,” smiles Goff.

“Very exciting because it’s our first time in DII, I was able to go my freshman year whenever we were DIII so just being able to go again as a DII institution and getting to compete with the other great teams it’s going to be exciting,” declares Perez.

Head coach Mike Reed is proud of the way his team has played all year long putting together an impressive 41-5 record.

“We’re always going to give 110% effort, they have done that it’s a staple of our program and you feel like you always respect the game and the game will respect you,” exclaims Head Coach Mike Reed.

Seven of the LSC teams are NCAA tournament bound and the patriots feel they are battle tested.

“You get this late in the year, there is not a lot of surprises. They kind of know what you do and you know what they do.. it’s all about execution there is no surprises,” tells Coach Reed.

The Patriots are going into the regional round as the number one team and will take on Colorado Christian on Thursday.

“You’ve got to be good in the critical situations, we talk about the big swings and big moments, those two out hits and those kind of things. You’ve got to be good in those critical moments and then play good in all three phases because everyone you’re playing is good,” explains Coach Reed.

“Continue to just do what we’re doing and keep preparing the same that we are and just cherish every moment that we have together,” adds Perez.

The Patriots will kick off the tournament at home on Thursday at noon against the Cougars.