Badgers softball to open NAIA Tournament in Hardeeville, S.C.

Wed, 05/08/2013 - 8:45am

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 15th-ranked Spring Hill College softball team will travel to Richard Gray Baseball/Softball Complex in Hardeeville, S.C., to begin play in the Opening Round of the 2013 NAIA Softball National Championship Tournament as the No. 2 seed on Monday-Wednesday, May 13-15.

Joining Spring Hill in Hardeeville will be the No. 1 seed and host team University of South Carolina-Beaufort Sand Sharks (41-4), No. 3 University of Virginia Intermont Cobras (36-12), and No. 4 Cumberland University (Tenn.) Bulldogs (36-20).

Spring Hill will open the bracket versus Virginia Intermont on Monday. The Cobras who are currently unranked but received 59 votes in the current NAIA Coaches Poll, advanced with an automatic bid as the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Champion.

USC-Beaufort, ranked No. 9 in the current NAIA Coaches Poll, advanced to the Opening Round with an automatic bid as The Sun Tournament Champion and as an Opening Round host team.

Unranked Cumberland reached the tournament with an automatic bid as the Mid-South Conference Tournament Runner-Up.

Of the three opponents in this bracket, the Badgers have only face Cumberland this season with the Badgers falling 4-0 in a neutral site game at the Gulf Coast Invitational Tournament on March 9 in Gulf Shores, Ala.

The SHC program will be the only participant in the bracket with national tournament experience as all three other programs have never before advanced to the national playoffs. The Badgers gained an automatic bid to the national tournament on Sunday as the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament Runner-Up.

Spring Hill last appeared in the national postseason in 2007 when they went 0-2 at the Region XIII Tournament and last appeared in the NAIA National Championship Tournament in 2003.

The Badgers hold a 6-6 record in the National Championship Tournament with three previous appearances in 1999, 2002 and 2003. In 1999, Spring Hill built a 5-2 record and reached the national semifinals before falling to Oklahoma City in a 4-2 decision in Jupiter, Fla.

The winner of each of the 10 double elimination Opening Round tournaments will advance to the Final Site of the 2013 NAIA Softball National Championship Tournament in Columbus, Ga., on May 23-30.