LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 2023 NFCA Division II Leadoff Classic makes its return Feb. 24-26 in Columbus, Ga. The three-day showcase of collegiate softball features 20 programs from 11 conferences that will collide at the South Commons Complex this weekend.
The field features nine programs that earned berths to the 2022 NCAA Tournament, including Super Regional participants Wilmington and Lincoln Memorial. Along with those programs, Georgian Court and the University of Alabama in Huntsville were Regional finalists. Rounding out the 2022 postseason teams are Bridgeport, Carson-Newman, Wingate University, Embry-Riddle and Ohio Dominican.
While some teams are making their 2023 debuts - Bridgeport, California (Pa.), Charleston and Gannon at the Classic, several programs have hit the ground running in the 2023 season. Three programs - No. 17 UAH (9-3), No. 18 Lincoln Memorial (14-4) and No. 25 Wilmington (2-0) - are nationally ranked, while Wingate (12-4) is receiving votes in the NFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Additionally, Carson-Newman (10-1), Columbus State (5-2), Embry-Riddle (6-3), Georgia Southwestern (9-2), Georgian Court (3-2), Hillsdale (1-3), Le Moyne (1-1), Missouri Western (5-3), Northern State (4-0), Ohio Dominican (2-7), Shaw (0-4) and West Chester (1-1) have kicked off their seasons.
"After missing 2021 due to COVID, we are thrilled to have our NFCA Division II Leadoff Classic Tournament back in 2023!” NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman said. “Our partners from the City of Columbus, Ga., are experts at running first-class events, so there is no doubt student-athletes and coaches will have a wonderful experience. Special thanks to NFCA Division II Board representative Les Stuedeman and NFCA Division II liaison Brian Stanley for putting together a talented field. We look forward to a highly-competitive tournament in February.”
In all, 17 of the 20 participants posted above .500 winning percentages in 2022 with two, Georgian Court and UAH, reaching the 40-win threshold and 10 more posting 30 or more victories.
Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded Leadoff Classics, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to awards, to in-person events and the National Convention.