KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released the list of 10 host sites for the seventh annual NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round, the national office announced Wednesday. The event will be played May 13 – 15 and features 10 four-team, double elimination tournaments throughout the country. The 40 qualifiers and pairings for the Opening Rounds will be announced Tuesday, May 7 at 4 p.m. CST on the NAIA Facebook page. The opening round playing format can be found here.
The hosts include Columbia (Mo.); Dodge City Sports Commission and Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference; Evangel University (Mo.); Georgia Gwinnett (Ga.); Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); Oklahoma City; Southern Oregon; Mobile (Ala.); William Carey (Miss.); Indiana Wesleyan. Overall, eight schools that are a part of hosting are guaranteed a berth in the 40-team field of the National Championship Opening Round, Evangel University must finish the regular season a .600 winning percentage to secure a berth in the 2019 Opening Round.
Seven of this year’s hosts are returning to host for the second-straight year. Of those institutions, Lindsey Wilson and Oklahoma City will each be hosting for the seventh-straight time since the NAIA Opening Round Championship format began in 2013. William Carey is hosting for the fifth time in the last six events.
Evangel University & Springfield Sport commission are the newcomers this year 2019 marking their first-time hosting this event, and will also host the 2019 NAIA Softball World Series May 23-29.
Last year, only four of the 10 Opening Round hosts won their bracket and represented their school at the NAIA Softball World Series.
The champion of each Opening Round will advance to play in the 39th annual NAIA Softball World Series in Springfield, Mo., that runs May 23–29. The World Series is a 10-team double elimination tournament held at Killian Sports Complex with the championship and if-necessary games taking place on Wednesday, May 29. The World Series bracket will be announced on Wednesday, May 15.
The Opening Round site selection process takes into account: geography, facilities, student-athlete experience, current rating of the team and host qualification. In the event that a host bid is directly tied to an institution that school is guaranteed at least an at-large berth into the field in order to host.
For the complete Opening Round schedule, click here.
For more championship information, click here.
2019 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Host Sites
(Listed alphabetically by Host)
|Host||Years Hosted||Facility Name||Location||Bracket Name|
|Columbia College||2014, 2017, 2019||Antimi Sports Complex||Columbia, Mo.||Columbia (Mo.) Bracket|
|Dodge City Sports Commission/Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference||2018, 2019||Legends Park||Dodge City, Kan.||Dodge City Bracket|
|Evangel University||2019||Killian Softball Complex||Springfield, Mo.||Springfield Bracket|
|Georgia Gwinnett College||2016, 2017, 2018, 2019||Grizzly Softball Complex||Lawrenceville, Ga.||Lawrenceville Bracket|
|Lindsey Wilson College||2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018||Marilyn D. Sparks Park||Columbia, Ky.||Columbia (Ky.) Bracket|
|Oklahoma City University||2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019||Ann Lacy Stadium||Oklahoma City, Okla.||Oklahoma City Bracket|
|Southern Oregon University||2018, 2019||US Cellular Park||Medford, Ore.||Southern Oregon Bracket|
|University of Mobile||2018, 2019||Gulf Shores Sportsplex||Gulf Shores, Ala.||Gulf Shores Bracket|
|William Carey University||2018, 2019||Joseph and Nancy Fail Field||Hattiesburg, Miss.||Hatiesburg Bracket|
|Indiana Wesleyan University||2014, 2019||Wildcat Field||Marion, Ind.||Marion (Ind.) Bracket|
NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Facts
- This opening round championship format occurs for the sixth time in the history of the sport, which spans back to 1981. From 2005-12, the championship format was played out at one location and included pool play with the champions advancing to double-elimination action.
- Opening Round All-Time Records (by seeds 2013 - 2018)
- No. 1 seeds: 148-57 (.722)
- No. 2 seeds: 119-98 (.548)
- No. 3 seeds: 72-113 (.389)
- No. 4 seeds: 41-113 (.266)
- Since the Opening Round format began in 2013, the top seed has been the Opening Round champion in 38-of-60 events. There have been three No. 4 seeds to win the event in the five-year history: Webber International (Fla.) won the 2016 Reinhardt Bracket (Ga.) with a record of 3-0; Ottawa (Kan.) won the 2017 Morningside Bracket (Iowa) with a 2-0 record and Indiana Wesleyan won the 2017 Bowling Green Bracket (Ky.) with a 3-0 record.
- Lindsey Wilson and Oklahoma City are the only programs to serve as Opening Round hosts in all seven years.
- The 40-team Opening Round field will be comprised of 30 automatic qualifiers and ten at-large berths. The 19 conferences will receive one berth per six teams and two berths per ten teams.
- The 10-team World Series bracket will be officially announced May 15 after the Opening Rounds have been completed (late in the day).
- Currently, 196 NAIA schools sponsor a varsity softball program among a membership of nearly 260 colleges, universities and conferences.