KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics officially released the opening round brackets for the 2017 NAIA Softball World Series at campus sites across the country and the Madonna University softball team is headed to Columbia, Ky. for the opening round that runs May 15-17.
The Crusaders will face sixth-ranked and top-seeded host Lindsey Wilson College in the first round of the Columbia, Ky. bracket on Monday, May 15 at 4:30 p.m. The winner of the game faces the winner of second-seeded and 14th-ranked Corban University (Ore.) and the third seed, Taylor University (Ind.), who received votes in Wednesday's NAIA Softball Coaches Top 25 Poll, on Tuesday, May 16 at 1 p.m. The losers will meet in the consolation bracket of the double elimination tournament on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Madonna earned a bid to the tournament by finishing as the runner-up to Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference champion Davenport University on Tuesday. The Crusaders enter the opening round with a 30-14 record and are led by WHAC Pitcher of the Year, Erin Combs (SR/Imlay City, Mich.) and five other All-Conference selections.
This is the fifth trip to the NAIA National Tournament and second appearance in an Opening Round, which began in 2013, for the softball program and first since losing to Dickinson State University in a winner-take-all championship game of the Concordia University-Irvine bracket 7-3 on May 14, 2015. The Blue and Gold are 7-7 in the national tournament and 3-2 in opening round games with the losses to Dickinson State the only appearance in the events championship game.
Lindsey Wilson (39-11) is making their fifth trip to an opening round, doing so each of the past five seasons, with a record of 11-4 in those games. The Blue Raiders have won two opening round titles and earned the first at-large bid in the field. Corban (40-11) is making its third opening round appearance and they are 4-4 all-time. The Warriors enter as the Cascade Collegiate Regular-Season Champion.
Taylor claimed the eighth of nine at-large bids into the tournament and enter with a 38-16 record on the seasons. This is the Trojans second appearance in an opening round where they are 1-2.
Since Madonna began playing softball in 1992, they have never played Taylor or Corban. The Crusaders are 4-3 against Lindsey Wilson, which includes a 4-1 mark against the Blue Raiders in Columbia, Ky. The last time the two teams met, MU dropped both games of a doubleheader played at Davenport University in 2015, 14-5 and 8-1.
The opening round banquet for players and coaches will take place on Monday morning on the Lindsey Wilson campus with the games to take place that afternoon. The tournament homepage can be found here, courtesy of LWC sports information.
Live audio coverage of the Crusaders' games will be available free of charge via the Madonna Athletics Network while live video is available via the Lindsey Wilson Sports Network for $7.95 per contest or $19.95 for the entire tournament. Audio and video coverage is available at madonnacrusaders.com/live.
For those planning to attend the games at Marilyn D. Sparks Park, admission is $5 per day and free for children under six years of age.
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Softball National Championships, click here.
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