Wed, May. 9, 2012 - [Softball]
William Penn will face off against #8 Azusa Pacific, #9 Olivet Nazarene, and #17 Auburn Montgomery in pool play
Oskaloosa--The pairings have been released and the William Penn softball team will face one very familiar foe and two it has never seen on the field at the 32nd Annual NAIA Softball National Championships.
The 32-team tournament will be held at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex in Gulf Shores, Ala., from May 17-23. For the second-straight year, the event will be hosted by the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, in conjunction with the University of Mobile (Ala.).
The 32 programs will be split into eight four-team pools with the winner of each pool advancing to the double-elimination bracket tournament beginning on Monday the 21st.
#27 William Penn (46-16), who is making its third trip to the national event, has been placed in Pool H with #8 Azusa Pacific (Calif.), #9 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) and #17 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.).
The navy and gold begin play against Azusa Pacific Thursday at 6 p.m. The Lady Statesmen then meet Olivet Nazarene Friday at 4:30 p.m. before concluding against Auburn Montgomery Saturday at 9 a.m. All game times are CST.
For the complete list of pool play pairings, click here
All of William Penn's contests will be broadcast on KBOE Radio (740 AM) and also webstreamed on KBOE's website here
#27 William Penn--Mike Christner, in his 11th season, has led the Lady Statesmen to the Midwest Classic Conference regular season and tournament championships.
William Penn is led by MCC Pitcher of the Year Jennifer Whitehead (So., Oskaloosa, Oskaloosa HS) and MCC Player of the Year Khyia Lewis (Sr., Ottumwa, Ottumwa HS).
Whitehead is 24-10 with a 1.34 Earned Run Average, while Lewis is leading the offense with a .367 batting average and 17 home runs (school record).
Three other team members were named to the MCC's first team, while two collected honorable mentions.
The Lady Statesmen, winners of seven of their last eight, owned a 17-game winning streak earlier this spring. The team has outscored its opponents 325-167 on the year.
William Penn is 2-6 all-time at nationals, going 1-3 in both 2005 and 2007.
#8 Azusa Pacific--Head Coach Carrie Webber, in her fourth year, has led the Cougars to a 40-10 record. Azusa Pacific is an at-large squad, placing second in its conference tournament behind #1 Concordia (Calif.). The tourney featured teams from the Golden State Athletic Conference, California Pacific Conference, and Frontier Conference.
Six players received all-GSAC honors, including four on the first team. Rita Kim was a first-team pitcher, but actually owns the lowest ERA on the staff at 1.99. Mariah Worley (1.21) and Taryn Devich (1.95) are also having great seasons. Kim paces the squad with 93 strikeouts and a .178 opponent batting average.
First-teamer Natalie Barnaby tops the Cougars with a .423 batting clip, while Brandi Andrews has a team-high ten home runs (.422 BA).
The Cougars, who can blame five of their ten losses on #1 Concordia, have outscored opponents 323-116 on the year.
Azusa Pacific is making its fifth trip to nationals and is 12-8 all-time.
#9 Olivet Nazarene--Head Coach Ritchie Richardson, in his 17th year, has led the 53-7 Tigers to the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships.
Co-CCAC Pitcher of the Year Katie Hannagan owns a 22-3 record with a 2.10 ERA, while Jordan Reynolds was CCAC Player of the Year. Reynolds is hitting an amazing .476 with 101 hits (29 doubles) and 88 runs scored.
Five other players received all-conference recognition (two more on first team). The Tigers, who have won 11 games in a row, have outscored opponents 442-128 on the year.
The Lady Statesmen and the Tigers have a history on the diamond, including meeting three times this year (all wins by ONU).
Olivet Nazarene is making its eighth trip to nationals and is 10-13 all-time.
#17 Auburn Montgomery--Head Coach Chris Steiner-Wilcoxon, in her fourth year, has led the 38-18 Warhawks to their first-ever trip to nationals in just the program's fourth year of existence. Auburn Montgomery qualified by finishing as the runner-up at the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament.
Three-time NAIA All-American pitcher/outfielder Brandi Richards was named Division Player of the Year. Two others joined her on the all-SSAC team, while another two individuals were placed on the all-Division squad.
Richards is 13-9 with a 1.26 ERA in the circle and is hitting .316 with three home runs. Shea Driggers tops the squad with a .326 clip.
The Warhawks, winners of 13 of their last 15 games, have outscored opponents 226-117 on the year.
Tickets for the national tournament will be sold at the gate with two different options. Fans can purchase an all-tournament pass for $30 or get tickets on a per-day basis for $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 4-10.
Additional Video Streaming (Final Eight Tournament)
NeuLion, the NAIA's digital media partner and official video-streaming company of ten select NAIA National Championship events, will be broadcasting select softball games from May 21-23. Once competition has pared down to six teams, starting with Game 9 at 5:30 p.m. on May 21, live streaming will be available for $9.95 per day or $29.95 for the whole event. For more video-streaming information, click here
All games will be available for purchase after the tournament. Fans can do so by clicking here
Numerous hotels are available in the area. Fans can either contact Island House Hotel at 251-981-6100 or click here for additional lodging options.