KANSAS CITY, Mo—The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) released the pool play schedule for the 2011 NAIA Softball National Championship Wednesday. The tournament will take place May 19-25 at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex in Gulf Shores, Ala., and will be hosted by the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission in conjunction with the University of Mobile.
The 32 teams in the elite field are divided into eight pools of four teams, and each team will play three pool play games May 19-21. The winners of each pool will advance to the eight-team double-elimination bracket May 23-24, with the National Championship game taking place May 25.
The University of Mobile (34-17) lands in Pool H along with Azusa Pacific (32-21), Oklahoma City (44-12) and St. Thomas (30-21). Mobile will open its pool play schedule with a 1 pm contest against Oklahoma City in a game featuring two of the most seasoned tournament teams. Oklahoma City leads all schools with 99 tournament wins and 25 trips to nationals, while the Lady Rams have the second-most trips to the tournament among current participants with 16.
Conversely, the other two teams in the pool are relative newcomers. St. Thomas is making its first-ever trip to the tournament, while Azusa Pacific is snapping an 11-year drought by qualifying for the tourney.
Simon Fraser is the defending National Champion, while the Southern States Athletic Conference leads the way with four tournament teams (Mobile, William Carey, Shorter, Belhaven).
Pool A: California Baptist, MidAmerica Nazarene, Friends, SUNY Canton
Pool B: Trevecca Nazarene, Oregon Tech, Northwood, Midland
Pool C: William Carey, Olivet Nazarene, William Woods, Iowa Wesleyan
Pool D: Cal State San Marcos, Bethel, Morningside, Asbury
Pool E: Central Baptist, Shorter, Davenport, Notre Dame
Pool F: Belhaven, Lindsey Wilson, Minot State, Bellevue
Pool G: Lubbock Christian, Reinhardt, Simon Fraser, Stimpson
Pool H: Azusa Pacific, Oklahoma City, Mobile, St. Thomas