The No. 1 Concordia Eagles opened the inaugural 2013 NAIA Softball Opening Round with a win at home against Bethany (KS), 8-0 in six innings on Monday afternoon, May 13, at Eagles Field in Irvine, CA.
(Opening Round Schedule) The inaugural NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round began Monday with 10 tournaments playing out. A total of 40 teams will participate in the double-elimination format with four teams at a different location. Sixteen programs return that participated in the 2012 Softball National Championship.
Ranked No. 1 in each of the past eight Coaches' Top 25 polls, No. 1 seed Concordia (Calif.) plays host to No. 2 St. Gregory's, No. 3 College of Idaho and No. 4 Bethany (Kan.). Concordia is playing in the championship for the fourth time in the last five years.
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. The bracket will be officially announced May 15 (late in the day).
On Monday, Concordia ace and GSAC Pitcher of the Year Katie Cotta went all six, striking out nine and improving to 21-2 on the year, lowering her ERA to a nation's best 0.15. She only walked one, gave up three hits, and hit two batters. Jenna Jorgenson hit her team-leading 12th home run of the year and first triple. Emily Craig hit her 10th bomb of the year and also added a single. Concordia scored eight runs on five hits, but were helped by five Bethany errors.
Chanele Dresser reached on an error in the first, stole second, and scored on an error. Jorgenson homered to start the fourth, and Craig singled two batters later. After a steal and error, a run scored on a throwing error. Bethany singled twice in the sixth, down just three, but two strikeouts from Cotta doused the threat.
Jorgenson tripled to start the sixth, and Craig followed with a one-out blast to left. After a pitching change, two batters walked, and Hannah Howell doubled to center to make it 7-0. Another runner reached on a throwing error, and the walkoff run came home as the runner stole second.
Concordia improved to 46-3 and have won 13 in a row, while Bethany dropped to 31-17. Concordia will play the third-seeded College of Idaho Coyotes tomorrow at 10:30 am in the semifinals. Watch the live stream at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/cui.portal#.