WALNUT RIDGE, AR (WBCEagles.com) - The Williams Baptist College softball team is headed back to the NAIA national tournament. The NAIA released brackets for the first round of the tournament Tuesday evening, and the Lady Eagles are headed to Claremore, Okla., to open play Monday, May 13th. It is the second year in a row for Williams to make the tournament.
"Our team has worked hard all season to earn the opportunity to get back to the national tournament," said Head Coach Eric Newell. "This is a very gratifying accomplishment for these ladies, and now we turn our attention to preparing ourselves for the next level of competition."
The first round of the tournament is known as pod play, with 10 pods around the country. Each pod is composed of four teams, and the winning team from each pod advances to the championship round the following week in Columbus, Ga.
WBC, which is ranked 6th in country, is currently 40-6 on the season.
The Lady Eagles earned an automatic berth in the national tourney by winning the regular season championship of the American Midwest Conference. They are the top seed in the Rogers State Pod, which is named for the host school, Rogers State University in Claremore. Pod play is double elimination.
Williams will open play Monday afternoon against fourth seeded Morningside College from Sioux City, Iowa. The Mustangs, who compete in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, have a 31-14 record and were champions of the GPAC Tournament this year.
"We are extremely proud of Coach Newell and the Lady Eagles softball team for earning their second national tournament berth in a row. We have no doubt they will represent WBC well in Claremore and will work hard to get to the championship round in Columbus," said Williams Athletic Director Jeff Rider.
Williams won two out of its three games in pod play last year in Gulf Shores, Ala. The Lady Eagles lost out in the pod to Oklahoma City University, which went on to be the runner up of the national tournament.