Eagles Set for NAIA Softball Championship
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the pool play schedule for the 2011 NAIA Softball National Championship, which will be held May 19-25 at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex in Gulf Shores, Ala. Asbury (20-10) is seeded fourth in Pool D.
Asbury is making their second appearance all-time in the tournament, both times coming in the last three years since softball was reinstated for the 2009 season. At the 2009 tournament the Eagles went 0-3 losing to Lubbock Christian, Shorter College and Morningside College. The Eagles are once again pooled with Morningside this year. The Eagles qualifed for this year's tournament by winning the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, beating Indiana Southeast 4-3 in the championship game.
Also in Pool D are top seed California State University-San Marcos (40-9), Bethel (Ind.) (36-7) and Morningside (Iowa) (45-9). Live stats for all games will be provided by the NAIA, to follow along click here.
The 32 qualifiers will all play three games in pool play action that spans three days, May 19 - 21. There are eight pools composed of four teams each, with the pool winners advancing to an eight-team double-elimination bracket that will be played out May 23 - 24. There are four fields with four games each day during pool play action. The 2011 champion will be crowned on May 25 from the Gulf Shores Sportsplex.
Asbury will face Cal State-San Marcos on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. eastern time. On Friday the Eagles battle Bethel (Ind.) at 3:00 p.m. eastern. In their final pool game, Asbury will face Morningside at 12:30 pm eastern on Saturday.
POOL D OPPONENT BREAKDOWN
No. 4 Cal State-San Marcos (40-9) is making their second tournament appearance and are 2-1 in tournament play. The Cougars were an at-large selection after being knocked out of the Association of Independent Institutions Tournament by Houston-Victoria.
No. 16 Bethel (Ind.) College (36-7) is making their fifth trip to the National Championship and are 9-7 in their previous four appearances. The Pilots won the Mid-Central College Conference Regular-Season and Tournament.
Morningside (Iowa) College (45-9) is making their fourth appearance at the tournament and own a 3-6 record at the event. The Mustangs earned their bid by finishing as the Great Plains Athletic Conference Regular-Season and Tournament Champion. Morningside beat the Eagles back in 2009 2-0 at the National Championship.
For the first time, some games in the double-elimination bracket will be video-streamed live via NeuLion. Game 9 on May 23 will be the first of as many as seven games that will be available. Games 9 - 15, which may include the "if necessary" game, will be streamed for a subscription price of either $5.95 per day, or an event fee of $19.95. Click here for more information.
The current field is comprised of 27 automatic qualifiers based upon their conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournaments, four at-large selections, which were determined using the final Top 25 rating released Tuesday and the host berth awarded to Mobile.
The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission, in conjunction with the University of Mobile (Ala.), will host the 31st annual event for the first time in Gulf Shores, Ala.
For more information on the National Championship, click here.