LOUISVILLE, Ky. -The 2023 NFCA Division II Leadoff Classic, a three-day showcase of collegiate softball, is back for the first time since 2019. Featuring 21 programs from 12 conferences, this year’sedition of the event will take place Feb. 24-26, 2023, at South Commons Complex in Columbus, Ga.
"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.”
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The field features nine programs that earned berths to the 2022 NCAA Tournament, including Super Regional participants Wilmington University and Lincoln Memorial University. Along with those programs, Georgian Court University and University of Alabama in Huntsville were Regional finalists. Rounding out the 2022 postseason teams are University of Bridgeport, Carson-Newman University, Wingate University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Ohio Dominican University.
In all 17 of the 21 participants posted above .500 winning percentages with two, Georgian Court and UAH, reaching the 40-win threshold and nine more posting 30 or more victories.
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Three Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) — Miles College, Shaw University and Winston-Salem State University — will participate in the 2023 Leadoff, while two teams — West Chester University and California (Pa.) — return from the previous Leadoff in 2019. Other teams in the field are University of Charleston, local program Columbus State University, Gannon University, Hillsdale College, Le Moyne University, Missouri Western University and Northern State University.
2023 participating teams:Bridgeport, California (Pa.), Carson-Newman, Charleston, Columbus State, Embry-Riddle, Gannon, Georgian Court, Hillsdale, Le Moyne, Lincoln Memorial, Miles, Missouri Western, Northern State, Ohio Dominican, Shaw, UAH, West Chester, Wilmington, Wingate, Winston-Salem State.
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.