KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 40-team field and pairings for the 2019 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round. The seventh annual event will take place from May 13 - 15 at ten different locations. The format is a double-elimination, four-team tournament. For more information on the host sites, click here.
The 40-team field is comprised of 31 automatic qualifiers and nine at-large berths. The 19 conferences receive one berth per six teams and two berths per ten teams. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released today. To view the final NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll click HERE.
The champions from each of the 10 opening round tournaments advance to the 39th annual NAIA Softball World Series in Springfield, Mo., from May 23 – 29. These programs will participate in a double-elimination national championship at the Killian Sports Complex. Science & Arts of Oklahoma won their first national championship last year at the 2018 NAIA Softball World Series Championship in Clermont, Fla.
The World Series bracket will be announced late in the day on May 15 after the completion of the opening rounds on NAIA.org. Advanced World Series tickets may be purchased by clicking here.
Opening Round Notes
- Defending national champion, Science and Arts of Oklahoma, come in as the No. 1 overall seed with a record of 52-1 winning the Sooner Athletic Conference and earning their automatic bid to the national championship.
- Marian (Ind.) enters the post season as the lone undefeated team with a perfect record of 49-0 going into the national championship with an automatic bid after winning the Crossroads League.
- Overall, there are 24 repeat qualifiers from the 2018 NAIA National Championship Opening Round.
- Five teams are making their first-ever trip to the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Central Baptist (Ark.), Marymount California, Siena Heights (Mich.), Valley City State (N.D.), and William Woods (Mo.).
- The Cascade Collegiate Conference boasts the most members in the opening round with four: College of Idaho, Corban (Ore.), Oregon Tech, and Southern Oregon. The Crossroads League and American Midwest Conference follow each adding three programs apiece.
- Oklahoma City has claimed four opening round titles closely followed by LSU Alexandria (La.) with three opening round titles.
- With 18 victories, Oklahoma City leads a pack of five programs with 10-or-more Opening Round wins. The others are Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (12), Oregon Tech (13), Saint Xavier (Ill.) (12), Marian (Ind.) (11) and William Carey (Miss.) (11).
- The 2019 opening round marks the seventh year of this format. Of the hosting institutions, Lindsey Wilson and Oklahoma City have each hosted seventh-straight times since the NAIA Opening Round Championship format began in 2013.
- Since the Opening Round format began in 2013, the top seed has been the Opening Round champion in 38-of-60 events. There have been three No. 4 seeds to win the event in the five-year history: Webber International (Fla.) won the 2016 Reinhardt Bracket (Ga.) with a record of 3-0; Ottawa (Kan.) won the 2017 Morningside Bracket (Iowa) with a 2-0 record and Indiana Wesleyan won the 2017 Bowling Green Bracket (Ky.) with a 3-0 record.
- In 2018, two No. 3 seeds won the event including Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) who won the Columbia (Ky.) Bracket and Columbia (Mo.) who won the Fayette Bracket.
For more information on the 2019 NAIA Softball National Championship and World Series, click here.
-- Courtesy of NAIA