KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released the list of 10 host sites for the sixth annual NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round, the national office announced Wednesday. The event will be played May 14 – 16 and features 10 four-team, double elimination tournaments throughout the country. The 40 qualifiers and pairings for the Opening Rounds will be announced Tuesday, May 8 at 5 p.m. EDT on the NAIA Facebook page. The opening round playing format can be found here.
The hosts include Bowling Green (Ky.) Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB); Central Methodist University (Mo.); City of Dodge City, Kan., and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (Co-hosts); Georgia Gwinnett College; Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.); Southern Oregon University; University of Mobile (Ala.); Oklahoma City University; and William Carey University (Miss.). Bowling Green is hosting two separate opening round events at Michael O Buchanon Park. Overall, seven schools that are a part of hosting are guaranteed a berth in the 40-team field of the National Championship Opening Round.
Five of this year’s hosts are returning for the second-straight year. Within that group, Lindsey Wilson and Oklahoma City will each be hosting for the sixth-straight time since the NAIA Opening Round Championship format began in 2013. William Carey is hosting for the fourth time in the last six events.
The University of Mobile, the City of Dodge City and Southern Oregon University are first-time hosts in this event.
Last year, only four of the 10 Opening Round hosts won their bracket and represented their school at the NAIA Softball World Series.
The champion of each Opening Round will advance to play in the 38th annual NAIA Softball World Series in Clermont, Fla., that runs May 25 – 31. The World Series is a 10-team double elimination tournament held at Legends Way Ball Fields with the championship and if-necessary games taking place on Thursday, May 31. The World Series bracket will be announced on Wednesday, May 16.
Last year’s national champion, Oklahoma City won its record 10th World Series trophy and second in as many years.
The Opening Round site selection process takes into account: geography, facilities, student-athlete experience, current rating of the team and host qualification. In the event that a host bid is directly tied to an institution, that school is guaranteed at least an at-large berth into the field in order to host. The bid deadline was April 1.
For the complete Opening Round schedule, click here.
For more championship information, click here.
2018 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Host Sites
(Listed alphabetically by Host)
|Host Entity||Years Hosted||Facility||Location||Bracket Name|
|Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau #1||2017, 2018||Michael O Buchanon Park||Bowling Green, Ky.||Bowling Green Bracket #1|
|Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau #2||2017, 2018||Michael O Buchanon Park||Bowling Green, Ky.||Bowling Green Bracket #2|
|Central Methodist||2015, 2018||Cox Softball Complex||Fayette, Mo.||Fayette Bracket|
|City of Dodge City, Kan. / Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference||2018||Legends Park||Dodge City, Kan.||Dodge City Bracket|
|Georgia Gwinnett||2016, 2017, 2018||Grizzly Softball Complex||Lawrenceville, Ga.||Lawrenceville Bracket|
|Lindsey Wilson||2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018||Marilyn D Sparks Park||Columbia, Ky.||Columbia (Ky.) Bracket|
|Southern Oregon||2018||US Cellular Field||Medford, Ore.||Southern Oregon Bracket|
|Mobile||2018||Gulf Shores Sportsplex||Gulf Shores, Ala.||Gulf Shores Bracket|
|Oklahoma City||2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018||Ann Lacy Stadium||Oklahoma City, Okla.||Oklahoma City Bracket|
|William Carey||2014, 2015, 2017, 2018||Joseph & Nancy Fail Field||Hattiesburg, Miss.||Hattiesburg Bracket|
-- Courtesy of NAIA