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2017 Softball National Championship Opening Round Qualifiers & Pairings Announced

May 10, 2017
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By Chad Waller, Director of Athletics Communications and Media

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Pairings) (Video Selection Show) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 40-team field and pairings for the 2017 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round. The event will take place from May 15 - 17 at 10 different locations. The format is a double-elimination, four-team tournament. For more information on the 10 host sites, click here.

The 40-team field is comprised of 31 automatic qualifiers and nine at-large berths. The 18 conferences receive one berth per six teams and two berths per ten teams. In addition, one Unaffiliated Group (Association of Independent Institutions / Gulf Coast) earns two berths. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll released today, which can be accessed here.

Overall, there are 22 repeat qualifiers from the 2016 NAIA National Championship Opening Round.

Five programs punched their first-ever ticket to the opening round: Cumberlands (Ky.), Edward Waters (Fla.), Jamestown (N.D.), Vanguard (Calif.) and Warner (Fla.).

The 2017 opening round marks the fifth year of this format. Overall, there are five teams that have owned the distinction of participating in all opening rounds since the event began in 2013: Davenport (Mich.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), LSU Alexandria (La.), Oklahoma City and Reinhardt (Ga.).

Oklahoma City claims three previous opening round titles, which is tied with former member Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) for the most of any program.

Oklahoma City holds the most wins on the season (61), as well as the most all-time opening round victories (12). Lindsey Wilson is next with 11 opening round wins.

Since the opening round format began in 2013, the top seed has been the champion in 27-of-40 events. The No. 2 seed has won nine Opening Rounds, while No. 3 College of Idaho (in 2014), No. 3 Dickinson State (N.D.) (in 2015) and No. 3 Williams Baptist (Ark.) (2016) are the only No. 3 seeds to win their events. A No. 4 seed won their bracket for the first time in 2016 with Webber International (Fla.) winning the Reinhardt (Ga.) Bracket with a record of 3-0.

Opening round hosts have recorded an all-time combined mark of 98-42.

Five conferences landed a trio of teams in the opening round: American Midwest Conference, Cascade Collegiate Conference, Crossroads League, Mid-South Conference and the Southern States Athletic Conference.

Three national champions will be participating in the 2017 opening round: Mobile (Ala.) (once in 2006), Oklahoma City (nine total) and Oregon Tech (once in 2011). Oklahoma City won its NAIA-record ninth overall softball championship last year.

The champions from each of the 10 opening round tournaments will advance to the 37th annual NAIA Softball World Series in Clermont, Fla., from May 26 – June 1. These programs will participate in a double-elimination national championship at the Legends Way Ball Fields. Last year, Oklahoma City defeated Saint Xavier (Ill.), 5-0, in the “if necessary” game June 2. The World Series bracket will be announced late in the day on May 17. Advanced World Series tickets may be purchased by clicking here.

For more information on the 2017 NAIA Softball National Championship, click here.

2017 Softball National Championship Opening Round Qualifiers

School Name Qualification Overall Record^ OR Apps* Consecutive OR Record OR Titles
Avila (Mo.) Heart of America Athletic Tournament Champion 36-22 2nd 1st 0-2 --
Bellevue (Neb.) At-Large No. 5 49-14 4th 1st 6-6 --
Brenau (Ga.) Southern States Athletic Tournament Champion 51-5 2nd 2nd 1-1 --
Campbellsville (Ky.) At-Large No. 3 37-13 3rd 3rd 5-3 1
Columbia (Mo.) American Midwest Regular-Season Champion 43-5 3rd 1st 1-4 --
Corban (Ore.) Cascade Collegiate Regular-Season Champion 40-11 3rd 1st 4-4 --
Cumberlands (Ky.) Mid-South Tournament Champion 19-32 1st 1st 0-0 --
Davenport (Mich.) Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Regular-Season Champion 43-7 5th 5th 5-8 --
Edward Waters (Fla.) Unaffiliated Group (A.I.I. / GCAC) Tournament Runner-Up 27-25 1st 1st 0-0 --
Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) At-Large No. 9 24-12 2nd 1st 1-2 --
Georgia Gwinnett Unaffiliated Group (A.I.I. / GCAC) Tournament Champion 48-7-1 3rd 3rd 4-4 --
Grand View (Iowa) Heart of America Athletic Regular-Season #1 Seed 41-13 4th 3rd 0-6 --
Hastings (Neb.) Great Plains Athletic Tournament Champion 36-22 2nd 1st 0-2 --
Indiana Wesleyan Crossroads League Tournament Runner-Up 41-13 3rd 3rd 2-4 --
IU Southeast (Ind.) River States Tournament Runner-Up 28-21 4th 2nd 2-6 --
Jamestown (N.D.) North Star Athletic Association Tournament Champion 41-19 1st 1st 0-0 --
Kansas Wesleyan Kansas Collegiate Athletic Tournament Champion 34-14 3rd 1st 0-4 --
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) At-Large No. 1 39-11 5th 5th 11-4 2
LSU Alexandria (La.) Red River Athletic Tournament Champion 46-8 5th 5th 7-4 2
Madonna (Mich.) Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Tournament Runner-Up 30-14 2nd 1st 3-2 --
Marian (Ind.) Crossroads League Regular-Season Champion 44-4 4th 3rd 5-5 1
Milligan (Tenn.) Appalachian Athletic Tournament Runner-Up 21-21 2nd 2nd 0-2 --
Mobile (Ala.) Southern States Athletic Tournament Runner-Up 38-17 2nd 1st 4-1 1
Morningside (Iowa) Great Plains Athletic Regular-Season Champion 39-10 4th 2nd 3-4 1
Oklahoma City Sooner Athletic Tournament Champion 61-1 5th 5th 12-3 3
Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Tournament Runner-Up 31-12 4th 2nd 6-4 1
Oregon Tech At-Large No. 7 34-15 4th 4th 8-4 1
Ottawa (Kan.) Kansas Collegiate Athletic Regular-Season Champion 37-16 2nd 1st 1-2 --
Reinhardt (Ga.) Appalachian Athletic Regular-Season Champion 41-14-1 5th 5th 6-5 2
Rio Grande (Ohio) River States Regular-Season Champion 45-8 3rd 3rd 2-4 --
Science & Arts (Okla.) At-Large No. 6 38-16 2nd 1st 1-2 --
Simpson (Calif.) California Pacific Athletic Tournament Champion 43-8 3rd 2nd 7-2 2
Southeastern (Fla.) At-Large No. 4 41-15 3rd 3rd 4-2 1
Southern Oregon Cascade Collegiate Tournament Champion 40-12 2nd 2nd 1-2 --
St. Francis (Ill.) Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Regular-Season Champion 41-5 2nd 1st 2-2 --
Taylor (Ind.) At-Large No. 8 38-16 2nd 1st 1-2 --
Vanguard (Calif.) Golden State Athletic Tournament Champion 46-13 1st 1st 0-0 --
Warner (Fla.) The Sun Tournament Champion 25-13 1st 1st 0-0 --
William Carey (Miss.) At-Large No. 2 42-9 4th 4th 9-2 2
Williams Baptist (Ark.) American Midwest Tournament Runner-Up 33-11 3rd 2nd 7-1 2

^ as submitted by school in DakStats
* Opening Round appearances, including 2017 event
OR = Opening Round