NAIA Softball Championship Finals Preview
· The championship final between No. 1 seed Concordia (Calif.) and No. 10 Spring Hill (Ala.) wraps up the 33rd annual event in Columbus, Ga., at the South Commons Softball Complex. Both teams square off at 5 p.m. EDT. If Concordia wins, they will take home their first-ever national title. If Spring Hill is victorious, the Badgers will force the “if necessary” game at approximately 7:30 p.m., since they are playing through the loser’s bracket.
· Both teams are playing in their first-ever National Championship final in the sport of softball. Spring Hill started a varsity program in 1998. Concordia began playing varsity softball in 1983.
· The game features two of NAIA’s most-heralded strikeout pitchers – Katie Cotta of Concordia and Caroline Sagrera of Spring Hill. Sagrera entered the championship with the most Ks of any NAIA or NCAA pitcher and currently has 479 in 338.0 innings. Cotta, with 327 whiffs in 170.0 innings, leads the NAIA in strikeouts per nine innings (17.3).
· Concordia is riding an 18-game win streak into today’s contest and is 51-3 overall. The Eagles are out of the Unaffliated Group, which is comprised of the Golden State Athletic Conference and the California Pacific Conference. They are 3-0 in the championship and advanced to Columbus by winning the Concordia (Calif.) Opening Round Bracket May 13 – 15.
· This championship is the fifth all-time appearance for the Eagles (2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013). Concordia is 11-8 in the championship event.
· Concordia coach Crystal Rosenthal is in her fifth season and 237-61 heading into the championship final.
· Spring Hill stands with a school-record for wins at 49-16 overall. The Badgers, who are 4-1 in the championship this year, are out of the Southern States Athletic Conference. They earned a spot in this year’s event by winning the USC Beaufort (S.C.) Opening Round Bracket May 13-15.
· The Badgers are competing in their fourth championship and first since 2003. The last time the Badgers were in this event was the senior season of current head coach Alison Sellers-Cook.
· Sellers-Cook is in her eighth season and 190-213 heading into the championship final.
· Jade Bourgeois is the first-ever First Team Capital One Academic All-American at Spring Hill in any sports.
· Spring Hill freshman Taylor Lahasky is a dual-sport athlete in volleyball and softball. She has hit two home runs and totaled five RBI in five championship games.