KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released the list of 10 host sites for the fifth annual NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round, the national office announced Wednesday. The event will be played May 15 - 17 and features 10 four-team, double-elimination tournaments throughout the country. The 40 qualifiers and pairings for the Opening Rounds will be announced Wednesday, May 10. The opening round playing format can be found here.
The hosts include Bowling Green (Ky.) Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB) and Campbellsville University (Ky.) (co-hosts), Columbia College (Mo.), Davenport University (Mich.), Georgia Gwinnett College, Lindsey Wilson University (Ky.), Louisiana State University Alexandria, Morningside College (Iowa), Oklahoma City University, Vanguard University (Calif.) and William Carey University (Miss.). Each of these 10 schools is guaranteed a berth in the 40-team field of the National Championship Opening Round.
Six of this year's teams are returning as hosts for the second-straight year. Within that group, Lindsey Wilson and Oklahoma City will each be hosting for the fifth-straight time since the Opening Round Championship format began in 2013. The other hosts back for a second year in-a-row are Davenport, Georgia Gwinnett, LSU Alexandria and Morningside. Morningside was also the host of the NAIA Softball World Series final site the previous two years.
Last year, six of the 10 Opening Round hosts won their bracket and represented their school at the World Series.
Each Opening Round host site will include a four-team, double-elimination tournament. The champion of each Opening Round will advance to play in the 37th annual NAIA Softball World Series in Clermont, Fla., that runs May 26 - June 1. The World Series is a 10-team, double-elimination tournament held at Legends Way Fields with the championship and if-necessary games taking place on Thursday, June 1.
Last year's national champion, Oklahoma City won its ninth World Series trophy by coming back through the elimination bracket to beat Saint Xavier (Ill.) in the if-necessary game.
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.
The Panthers will be hosting this year's NAIA National Championship Opening Round again at Farmers Insurance Athletic Complex. Davenport will be making their sixth appearance in the NAIA National Championship including five straight seasons (2011, 2013-2017). Once teams are identified, please visit the athletic website under softball for a tournament page with details on tickets, times, parking, etc.