KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the seeds and brackets for the inaugural NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round. Each of the 10 locations will feature a four-team double-elimination tournament May 13–15.
Pairings for the opening round are based upon the following prioritized criteria: geographical location of teams, financial consideration and the final rating from the NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Every attempt is made to not pair Conference/Association of Independent Institutions/Unaffiliated Group teams, but this may be unavoidable.
The 10 Opening Round hosts announced on April 23 are: Belhaven University (Miss.), Concordia University (Calif.), Concordia University (Ore.), Lee University (Tenn.), Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.), Lubbock Christian University (Texas), Oklahoma City University, Park University (Mo.), Rogers State University (Okla.) and the University of South Carolina Beaufort.
On May 13, the No. 1 seed faces the No. 4 seed at each site while the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds battle it out. The second day sees three games and the third and final day has the championship game and “if necessary” game.
Thirty-one teams earned automatic berths to the Opening Round field by placing first or second at their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournaments or by winning a regular-season championship. An additional five at-large host berth selections and four at-large berths complete the list of qualifiers. The at-large berths were determined by the final Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
Each of the Opening Round winners will advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship final site in Columbus, Ga., May 24 – 30. The format in Columbus is a double-elimination, 10-team event on a single championship field.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of 18 select NAIA national championships, will be broadcasting all 19 games of the national championship final site in Columbus, Ga. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-Championship pass is available for $29.95. For more information, including how to test your computer and internet connection, click here. For the complete schedule of all the Opening Rounds, click here.
For more information on the 2013 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round and National Championship final site, click here.
***Courtesy of Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information