The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics will hold its inaugural Softball National Championship Opening Round at 10 different locations, and Lee’s Lady Flames will be one of the hosts. When the four-team double-elimination tournament ends, it will mark the final opportunity Lee will have to host an NAIA event.
Lee athletics will be a part of the Gulf South Conference next fall and will continue it move into NCAA play. The Flames and Lady Flames will no longer be eligible to participate in NAIA sponsored tournaments.
Three teams rolled into Cleveland over the weekend and attended a banquet on the Lee campus on Sunday evening. The three clubs joined the Lady Flames in exchanging gifts, and the Champion of Character winners from each school were honored.
Action begins at Butler Field today at 4:30 p.m. when Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.), the No. 2 seed, will face Indiana University Southeast, the No. 4 seed.
The No. 1-seeded Lady Flames will test Bethel College (Ind.) at 7 p.m. The two winners of Monday’s games will tangle at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and the opening round losers will meet at 4:30. The loser of the 2 p.m. game and the winners of the 4:30 contest will play at 7 p.m.
The final is planned for Wednesday at 1 p.m. If a second game is needed, if will begin at 3 p.m.
Other Opening Round hosts are Belhaven University (Miss.), Concordia University (Calif.), Concordia University (Ore.), Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.), Lubbock Christian University (Texas), Oklahoma City University, Park University (Mo.), Rogers State University (Okla.) and the University of South Carolina at Beaufort.
Each of the Opening Round winners will advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship final site in Columbus, Ga., May 24–30. The format in Columbus is a double-elimination, 10-team event on a single championship field.