GULF SHORES, Ala—The University of Mobile softball team will begin pool play at the 2011 NAIA Softball National Championship Thursday, May 19 at 1 pm against Oklahoma City University at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex.
The 31st Annual Event is hosted by the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports Commission in conjunction with the University of Mobile. Pool play will take place May 19-21, with the eight-team, double-elimination bracket taking play May 23-24 and the Championship game getting underway May 25.
There are eight pools of four teams, and the top team from each pool at the end of the day Saturday will advance to bracket play. Mobile’s pool has a blend of old and new. The Lady Rams are 47-31 in 16 all-time appearances at the national tournament, while Oklahoma City leads everyone with 99 wins in 25 appearances. Mobile has one National Championship, while Oklahoma City boasts eight. Azusa Pacific University is making its first trip to postseason play since 2000, and only 4th overall, while St. Thomas advances to nationals for the first time. Those teams comprise Pool H.
Mayles Rodriguez leads Mobile with a .385 BA, 15 doubles and a .507 OBP. Milagros Lozada leads the team with 11 homers, 48 RBI and a .708 slugging percentage. Victoria Buie paces the team in the circle with a 17-5 record and 1.69 ERA.
Three other Southern States Athletic Conference members are in Gulf Shores, with William Carey in Pool C, Shorter in Pool E and Belhaven in Pool F. Simon Fraser is the defending National Champion, while California Baptist boasts a 59-3 record and has been ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Top-25 all season.
Meet the other teams in Pool H:
Azusa Pacific University
-Located in Azusa, Calif., the Cougars are ranked No. 8 in the nation and 32-21 on the year
-APU has won 12 of 16 games, with 6 wins over Top-10 teams
-1st Baseman Erika Marmolejo leads the team with a .309 batting average
-Taryn Devich is 14-8 in the circle
-In 2000, the team won 5-straight games to advance thru loser bracket to the title game, before falling
Oklahoma City University
-The Stars are 44-12 on the season and won the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament
-Ranked 9th, OCU has made 19 trips to nationals and last won it all in 2007, one year after Mobile’s title
-Lily LaVelle does it all with a 27-8 record and .80 ERA along with .381 BA, 19 HR and 47 RBI
St. Thomas University
-The Bobcats won the Sun Conference to qualify for nationals
-STU has hit only 13 home runs as a team
-Bobcats are 31-21 overall and outscore opponents 46-18 in the 4th inning
-Carissa Albizu is hitting .389 with 17 doubles and 37 RBI
-Melissa King hits .347 with 14 doubles, 6 HR and 39 RBI