SIOUX CITY, Iowa – There are 10 teams remaining in NAIA softball and all are vying for the trophy at the 36th Annual NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College. Hosted by the City of Sioux City and Morningside College for the second-straight year, the event runs from May 27 – June 2 and will be played out at the Elizabeth & Irving Jensen Softball Complex.
Stretch Internet, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all 19 games of the 2016 NAIA Softball World Series on the NAIA Network. The All-World Series package can be purchased for $29.95 or the day package for $9.95. For more information, including how to register for an account, click here.
For more information on the 2016 NAIA Softball World Series, click here.
There will be up to 19 games played during a seven-day span with four games scheduled on each of the first three days (May 29 is off day) and the championship final on June 2. In the event of inclement weather, receive the updates on Twitter with hashtag #NAIASBWorldSeries.
Two-time defending national champion and No. 2 seed Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) opens up its action Saturday at 4 p.m. CDT. The Warhawks (51-6) face the winner of host school and No. 7 Morningside (47-8) and No. 10 Webber International (Fla.) (30-14). Auburn Montgomery, who is the only repeat qualifier from the 2015 World Series, is playing in its fifth event with a 13-6 postseason record.
A team with the most World Series titles (8), wins (114), and appearances (29), No. 1 seed Oklahoma City (61-2) is back after being absent from the 2015 World Series. The Stars await the winner of No. 8 Marian (Ind.) (47-10) and No. 9 Williams Baptist (Ark.) (38-19) on Saturday at 7 p.m. With 61 season wins, Oklahoma City has the most victories since former member Lubbock Christian (Texas) had 61 to end its 2013 campaign. Former member California Baptist had 66 in 2011 for the next highest amount.
Fourth-seed Saint Xavier (Ill.) (43-8-1) tangles with No. 5 Simpson (Calif.) (43-5) Friday at 4 p.m. The other first round game sees No. 3 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) (46-5) take on World Series rookie No. 6 Southeastern (Fla.) (42-14) at 7:30 p.m.
St. Gregory’s currently owns the longest NAIA active season-winning streak with 13-straight victories. Morningside is next in line as the Mustangs sport an eight-game streak.
Eight conferences are represented in the 2016 World Series, led by two programs each from the Sooner Athletic Conference – Oklahoma City and St. Gregory’s – and The Sun Conference – Southeastern and Webber International.
--- Courtesy of Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
Taking a Closer Look at the 2016 Softball World Series
● The City of Sioux City currently hosts two other NAIA National Championships: the NAIA Volleyball National Championship for the past eight years and the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship for the past 19 years.
● The Elizabeth & Irving Jensen Softball Complex has been the home of Morningside Mustangs softball since its completion in 2006. The first game on the field was played March 19, 2007, when Morningside swept Black Hills State (S.D.) by scores of 4-3 and 1-0.
● The 10 World Series teams qualified by winning their respective National Championship Opening Rounds, played out May 16-18 at 10 different host cities. The Opening Rounds consisted of four teams playing in double-elimination format.
● The Opening Round format marked the fourth-straight year in the 36-year history of the sport. From 2005- 12, the championship format included pool play and pool play champions advanced to double-elimination action.
● Eight conferences are represented in the 2016 World Series, led by two programs each from the Sooner Athletic Conference – Oklahoma City and St. Gregory’s (Okla.) – and The Sun Conference – Southeastern (Fla.) and Webber International (Fla.).
● Southeastern is the lone newcomer in the 10-team field. The Fire were the top seed in the Davenport (Mich.) Opening Round Bracket and rattled off three-straight wins to punch their first-ever World Series ticket. Southeastern is competing in just its fourth year as a softball program.
● St. Gregory’s currently owns the longest NAIA active season-winning streak with 13-straight victories. The Cavaliers went 3-0 to win the St. Gregory’s Opening Round Bracket. Morningside (Iowa) is next in line as the Mustangs sport an eight-game streak.
● Top seed Oklahoma City -- who boasts the most World Series titles (8), most victories (114) and most appearances (29th) -- is looking to become the first No. 1 seed to win it all since 2013 (Concordia (Calif.)). Since 1999, seven top seeds have won the event.
● With 61 wins, Oklahoma City posts the most wins on the season of all qualifiers. Conversely, Webber International (30) has the fewest amount of wins.
● Six of the Top 10 teams ranked in the Final NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (May 10) are playing in the World Series. Programs outside of the Top 10 are No. 15 Morningside, No. 17 Marian (Ind.), (RV) Williams Baptist (Ark.) and (RV) Webber International.
● Auburn Montgomery returns as the two-time defending national champion, winning its first-ever title in 2014 in its sixth year of varsity existence. The Warhawks are joined by Oklahoma City (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007) as the other qualifier who won a previous red banner.
● The Warhawks are looking to become the first three-peat titlist since Oklahoma City went back-to-back-to-back from 2000-02.
Celebrating 36 Years of NAIA Softball World Series
● In 36 years, the NAIA Softball World Series has traveled to 14 different cities in 10 different states. Sioux City, Iowa, is the host city for the second-straight year.
● The title of NAIA Softball World Series is a name change from the former title of NAIA Softball National Championship final site. The move was made prior to 2013 when the format change occurred and there are 10 Opening Round sites.
● With the inclusion of Southeastern (Fla.) this year, there have been 197 schools that have qualified since the inaugural event in 1981.
● From 2008-12, the National Championship games were decided by one run, including a nine-inning affair in 2012. In the last three years, the game has not been as dramatic with Concordia (Calif.) taking an 8-3 decision in 2013 and Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) winning by a combined 14 runs in their last two title wins.
● The National Championship game been forced into extra innings on five occasions, with the last coming in the 2012 national tilt between former member Shorter (Ga.) and Oklahoma City.
● Eight title games have been won via shutout, led by Oklahoma City’s 12-0 blanking of Athens State (Ala.) in 1997. That mark is also the largest margin of victory. The last championship game shutout was in 2015 when Auburn Montgomery blanked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), 10-0, in six innings.