SPRINGFIELD, Mo–Missouri State has the homefield advantage in this week’s Valley softball tournament.

The second-seeded Bears will open play Friday afternoon.

And starting will be the Valley’s pitcher of the year Steffany Dickerson.

As ozarkfirst’s Dan Lindblad reports, the senior is on a mission.

Right when you think you have her figured out.

“I kind of like steal my confidence from them. And I’m like, Nope, you thought you had it, but you don’t,” said Dickerson.

She strikes you out.

“It gives you a different confidence in the field to see a pitcher with such a strong confidence hold to herself. So it makes you feel that there is nothing that can’t be accomplished when she’s there,” said MSU senior Daphne Plummer.

A super-senior out of Oklahoma City, Steffany Dickerson has been among the Valley’s best in the circle.

Her 0.87 ERA tops the conference.

“20 wins for a pitcher is, is kind of the mark of where you want to be. And she did that as a sophomore, maybe a little bit down year last year, but this year has just been outstanding to have a sub one era in conference play. I mean you just don’t see those numbers anymore. And for her to do that this year is very special,” said MSU coach Holly Hesse.

She has more than 500 strikeouts in a career, with a season-best 152 this spring.

“I just thought I was going to come out here and give it my best shot. And if that’s 500 career strikeouts, it’s 500 career strikeouts.

But there is one thing she hasn’t done.

“I hope I get out, come out with a ring. That’s really that’s been my main goal here is to get a ring and get this team on the map. And so that’s what I hope for this weekend.,” said Dickerson.

It’s been a minute since the Bears tasted the NCAA Tournament, 2011 the last year they made a regional.

“You know that’s the dream. That’s the dream. That’s the vision. That’s what you start talking about early in the fall. It’s what you do all the hard work for all year long. You know, we’re like at 128 days of hard work. And, you know, that’s that’s how you hope it turns out. And I think for this team, they have a really good chance of it turning out that way,” said Hesse.

2011 also the last time the MVC tournament was held in Springfield.

“It’s senior year, so how could you not want that right? Last time? Last chance. Might as well make it a good one,” said Plummer.

That ring, is just two wins away.

In Springfield, Dan Lindblad Ozarks First.