William Carey chosen for opening round of softball championship

HATTIESBURG — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released the sites for the 2nd annual NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round and William Carey University was named as a host site, the national office announced.

The event will be played May 12-14 and features 10 four-team double elimination tournaments. The 40 qualifiers and pairings for the National Championship Opening Round will be announced May 6.

Three hosts this year served as host institutions for the 2013 event, Concordia, Lindsey Wilson and Oklahoma City. Both Concordia and Oklahoma City won their respective 2013 Opening Rounds to advance to the national championship final site, while Lindsey Wilson fell in the Opening Round championship contest.

Overall last year, four of 10 opening round hosts won their respective opening round tournaments: Concordia, former members Lee (Tenn.) and Lubbock Christian (Texas) and Oklahoma City. The 2013 opening round hosts recorded a 23-14 combined record, but went just 5-8 on the third and final day.

Overall, the No. 1 seeds went a combined 30-7 in the 2013 Opening Round. Two returning teams were a perfect 3-0 last year, Auburn Montgomery and Concordia.

The Opening Round site selection process takes into account geography, facilities, student-athlete experience and host qualification. The application deadline for bids was April 1.

The champions of each of the 10 Opening Round tournaments advance to the 34th annual NAIA Softball World Series in Columbus, Ga., from May 23-29. These programs will participate in a double-elimination national championship format on one championship field — which was home to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

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