KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the 40-team field and pairings for the 2019 NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round. The seventh annual event will take place from May 13 – 15 at ten different locations. The format is a double-elimination, four-team tournament.
The 40-team field is comprised of 31 automatic qualifiers and nine at-large berths. The 19 conferences receive one berth per six teams and two berths per ten teams. At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches’ Top 25 Poll released today. To view the final NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll click HERE.
The champions from each of the 10 opening round tournaments advance to the 39th annual NAIA Softball World Series in Springfield, Mo., from May 23 – 29. These programs will participate in a double-elimination national championship at the Killian Sports Complex. Science & Arts of Oklahoma won their first national championship last year at the 2018 NAIA Softball World Series Championship in Clermont, Fla.
The World Series bracket will be announced late in the day on May 15 after the completion of the opening rounds on NAIA.org.
Opening Round Notes
Defending national champion, Science and Arts of Oklahoma come in as the No. 1 overall seed with a record of 52-1 winning the Sooner Athletic Conference and earning their automatic bid to the national championship.
Marian (Ind.) enters the post season as the lone undefeated team with a perfect record of 49-0 going into the national championship with an automatic bid after winning the Crossroads League.
Overall, there are 24 repeat qualifiers from the 2018 NAIA National Championship Opening Round.
Five teams are making their first-ever trip to the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Central Baptist (Ark.), Marymount California, Siena Heights (Mich.), Valley City State (N.D.), and William Woods (Mo.).
The Cascade Collegiate Conference boasts the most members in the opening round with four: College of Idaho, Corban (Ore.), Oregon Tech, and Southern Oregon. The Crossroads League and American Midwest Conference follow each adding three programs apiece.
Oklahoma City has claimed four opening round titles closely followed by LSU Alexandria (La.) with three opening round titles.
With 18 victories, Oklahoma City leads a pack of five programs with 10-or-more Opening Round wins. The others are Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (12), Oregon Tech (13), Saint Xavier (Ill.) (12), Marian (Ind.) (11) and William Carey (Miss.) (11).
The 2019 opening round marks the seventh year of this format. Of the hosting institutions, Lindsey Wilson and Oklahoma City have each hosted seventh-straight times since the NAIA Opening Round Championship format began in 2013.
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.
In 2018, two No. 3 seeds won the event including Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) who won the Columbia (Ky.) Bracket and Columbia (Mo.) who won the Fayette Bracket.
For more information on the 2019 NAIA Softball National Championship and World Series, click here.
2019 Softball National Championship Opening Round Qualifiers
Potential Qualifier Qualification Method Record OR Appearances Consecutive OR Record Titles
Avila (Mo.) Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 29-16 3rd 1st 1-4 0
Baker (Kan.) Heart of America Athletic Conference Regular Season Champion 45-7 2nd 2nd 1-2 0
Bellevue (Neb.) At-Large 44-18 5th 1st 7-8 0
Brenau (Ga.) Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 34-9 4th 4th 3-4 0
Campbellsville (Ky.) At-Large 33-13 5th 5th 8-7 1
Central Baptist (Ark.) At-Large 33-16 1st 1st 0-0 0
College of Idaho At-Large 38-15 3rd 1st 6-3 0
Columbia (Mo.) American Midwest Conference Regular-Season Champion 35-10 5th 3rd 7-4 1
Corban (Ore.) At-Large 36-14 5th 3rd 9-6 1
Edward Waters (Fla.) Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Runner-Up 13-19 2nd 1st 0-2 0
Friends (Kan.) Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference 28-17 4th 1st 1-6 0
Georgia Gwinnett Association of Independent Institutions Tournament Champion 34-14 5th 5th 9-7 0
Grand View (Iowa) Heart of America Athletic Conference Regular Season#2 Seed 44-10 6th 5th 3-10 0
Hope International (Calif.) Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 44-12 2nd 2nd 1-2 0
Houston-Victoria (Texas) At-Large 31-10 5th 2nd 5-8 0
Indiana Wesleyan At-Large 42-13 5th 5th 8-5 1
IU Southeast (Ind.) River States Conference Tournament Champion 32-23 5th 1st 2-8 0
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) Mid-South Conference Champion 46-2 7th 7th 12-8 2
LSU Alexandria (La.) Red River Tournament Champion 32-14 6th 1st 10-4 3
Madonna (Mich.) Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 35-11 4th 3rd 6-6 0
Marian (Ind.) Crossroads League Regular-Season Champion 49-0 6th 5th 11-5 2
Marymount California California Pacific Conference Tournament Champion 34-13 1st 1st 0-0 0
Midland (Neb.) Great Plains Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 31-10 2nd 2nd 2-2 0
Mobile (Ala.) Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 48-11 4th 3rd 9-3 1
Morningside (Iowa) Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 30-9 5th 1st 4-6 1
Oklahoma City Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 54-6 7th 7th 18-3 4
Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) Chicagoland Collegiate Conference Regular-Season Champion 34-8 5th 1st 7-6 1
Oregon Tech Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament Runner-Up 40-15 6th 6th 13-7 1
Rio Grande (Ohio) River States Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 34-14 5th 5th 4-8 0
Saint Xavier (Ill.) Chicagoland Collegiate Conference Tournament Champion 28-8 6th 2nd 12-8 2
Science & Arts (Okla.) Sooner Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 52-1 4th 3rd 6-4 1
Siena Heights (Mich.) Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Champion 32-14 1st 1st 0-0 0
Southern Oregon Cascade Collegiate Conference Regular-Season Champion 45-7 4th 4th 8-4 1
Taylor (Ind.) Crossroads League Tournament Champion 35-15 3rd 1st 2-4 0
Truett-McConnell (Ga.) Appalachian Athletic Conference Regular-Season Champion 42-9 2nd 2nd 3-2 0
USC Beaufort (S.C.) The Sun Conference Tournament Champion 40-11 3rd 1st 4-4 0
Valley City State (N.D.) North Star Athletic Association Tournament Champion 51-3 1st 1st 0-0 0
Vanguard (Calif.) At-Large 43-11 3rd 3rd 0-4 0
William Carey (Miss.) At-Large 36-14 6th 6th 11-6 2
William Woods (Mo.) American Midwest Conference Tournament Runner-Up 23-25 3rd 1st 1-4 0