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The South Commons Stadium & Complex and the Columbus Sports Council will once again play host to the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic. The tournament is scheduled to take place February 27-March 1, 2009. This will be the 14th consecutive season in which the South Commons Complex has hosted the tournament.
The Leadoff Classic has established itself as one of college softball’s premier tournaments, sending seven of its 13 previous champions to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series.
This year’s field once again features some of the top collegiate teams in the nation, including 11 teams that are ranked in the current USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll and another four that received votes. Fifteen teams in this year’s field advanced to the 2008 NCAA tournament, including three Women’s College World Series participants, making the 14th Annual Leadoff Classic another battle of some of the nation’s best collegiate teams.
The 11 teams appearing in this week’s Top 25 include No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 Michigan, No. 13 DePaul, No. 14 Georgia, No. T-16 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 18 Northwestern, No. 19 Southern Ilinois, No. 20 LSU, No. 22 UMass, No. 24 Ohio State and No. 25 Mississippi State
Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette and Virginia Tech all appeared in the 2008 WCWS with the Crimson Tide finishing tied for third, the Ragin’ Cajuns tied for fifth and the Hokies tied for seventh. Michigan and Northwestern tied for the 2008 Big Ten Championship, with Northwestern taking the tournament championship and both teams advancing to Super Regionals.
Four additional teams, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Houston and South Carolina received votes this week, placing 15 of the 21 Leadoff Classic teams in this week’s poll. Long Island and Hofstra, both of which appeared in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, Illinois State, Nebraska and Penn State round out the 21-team field.
Play is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 27, with games beginning on each of the facility’s six fields.