Defending national champion Rutgers-Camden and runner-up St. Thomas lead 24 of the nation’s top Division III softball teams to Panama City, Fla., Mar. 9-11 for the 2007 NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic.
The championship tournament finalists join fellow national finals participants Coe, Ithaca and Muskingum in the field that will compete for the first time at Frank Brown Park.
Eleven teams in the field, Augustana (Ill.), Babson, Central (Iowa), Chapman, La Verne, Louisiana College, Methodist, Moravian, Plattsburgh State, Trinity and Wisconsin-Eau Claire, advanced to regional play in 2006. Alma, Maryville University of St. Louis, Mount Union, St. Mary’s, Webster, Wheaton (Mass.), William Paterson and Willamette round out the field for the 2007 event which is being held for the third time.
The last Division III Leadoff Classic was held in 2004 in LaGrange, Ga., with Moravian winning the championship during its run to a national runner-up finish on the year.
Teams will compete in round-robin play in six, four-team pools. Following pool play, the top team from each pool, along with two at-large teams, will advance to the Gold Championship Bracket. The remaining four second-place teams, along with four at-large teams will be placed in the Silver Championship Bracket. The remaining eight teams will be assigned to the Bronze Championship Bracket.
All brackets will be single elimination/consolation. Each team will play six games (three pool, three bracket) regardless of pool or bracket assignments.