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Thirteen Teams Set For Leadoff Classic In Clearwater

Michigan's Amanda Chidester. Photo Courtesy of Michigan Athletic Media Relations.STARKVILLE, Miss. – After a one-year hiatus, the NFCA Leadoff Classic will return on Feb. 24-26, 2012, at its new home, the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex in Clearwater, Fla. Thirteen Division I teams will compete in the first Leadoff since 2010, including perennial powers Michigan and Tennessee and defending tournament champion Illinois. 

Along with Michigan and Tennessee, four other teams competing in the 2012 event participated in last year’s NCAA tournament. Georgia Tech, DePaul, Illinois St. and Louisiana-Lafayette are all scheduled to participate in the 16th edition of one of the nation’s premier early season Division I tournaments. 

With representatives from 10 different states and 10 of the nation’s best conferences, this year’s field promises to be highly competitive. Along with DePaul, South Florida will serve as a representative from the Big East, while Mississippi St. will join SEC foe Tennessee in Clearwater. The Big 10 will be the final of three conferences to send two teams to the tournament with Michigan and Illinois. 

Rounding out the field for the inaugural Leadoff Classic in “The Sunshine State” will be Boston U., Hofstra, Massachusetts and Winthrop. 

The tournament will feature a round-robin style format with the championship going to the team with the best win percentage on the weekend. In case of ties, a series of pre-determined tiebreakers will be used to decide winners. Individual performances will also be honored at the tournament with a Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Pitcher award, as well as an All-Tournament team. 

Single day tickets will be available for $10 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under. Full tournament passes will also be available for $25 for adults and $15 for children. Special group rates of $5 will also be available for groups of 10 or more youth or military personnel. For a complete game schedule and more tournament information, click here

For more information on Clearwater and accommodations in the area, please visit the St. Petersburg and Clearwater Convention & Visitor’s Bureau at www.visitstpeteclearwater.com.