No. 1 seed Concordia (Calif.) won the Concordia (Calif.) Bracket in Irvine to advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship Final Site, with a 9-0 shutout of College of Idaho last Wednesday. The Eagles, who have been ranked No. 1 in each of the past eight NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Polls, brings a 48-3 overall record to Columbus. The Eagles ride the arm of Katie Cotta. The senior tossed her NAIA-record 11th career no-hitter against the Coyotes. Concordia plays Saturday, May 25 at 4 p.m. PST in the second round against No. 8 Reinhardt (Ga.) which defeated No. 9 Saint Xavier (Ill.), 3-0 in the first round.
The Eagles (48-3) have an all-time record of 8-8 in the National Championship, are making their fifth national championship appearance, and this marks the first time they have advanced to the final double-elimination tournament. Reinhardt (Ga.) (44-7) has an all-time mark of 3-4, are making their third appearance, and also appeared last year. Sophomore pitcher Maddie Monroe tossed a complete-game shutout to lift No. 8 seed Reinhardt (Ga.) over No. 9 Saint Xavier (Ill.), 3-0, in the opening round of the 2013 NAIA Softball National Championship final site at the South Commons Softball Complex on Friday. Reinhardt (44-7) advances into the winner's bracket of the double-elimination event and will play No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) Saturday at 4 p.m. PST.
Monroe, who pitched 18.0 innings in the 2012 championship with a 0.78 ERA, made the pitches when she needed it today against the Cougars. She gave up eight hits, seven of which were singles, in a 140-pitch effort. The Appalachian Athletic Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year posted five strikeouts and two walks.
The top seed for the second-straight year is Concordia (Calif.) out of the Unaffiliated Group (California Pacific Athletic Conference / Golden State Athletic Conference. The Eagles have been the nation's No. 1 ranked team in each of the past eight NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Polls. They bring the longest win streak into the championship with a 15-gamer and stand 48-3 overall. Behind the pitching of Katie Cotta, who has a NAIA-record 11 career no-hitters, the team is No. 1 in the NAIA in team ERA (0.53).
The eighth seeded Reinhardt Eagles won the Appalachian Athletic Conference with a perfect 18-0 record and fell in the conference tournament championship to Milligan, 7-6. They won the Belhaven (MS) Bracket with a 3-1 record, beating host team Belhaven in the championship.
The second round game is the last game of the day on Saturday at 4 pm PST. The two squads have never met before.
The Concordia Eagles lead the nation in slugging percentage (.611) and ERA (.530), and are second in batting average (.379). They are third in home runs per game (1.32) and runs per game (7.8). Concordia is fourth in RBI per game (7.08), sixth in K's (410), and 10th in hits per game (9.82). They have won 40+ games for five straight seasons.
GSAC Pitcher of the Year Katie Cotta leads the GSAC with a 0.14 ERA and 298 strikeouts. She also has an NAIA season record with 11 no-hitters. Cotta also won the award in 2012 and is the only player in school history to win it, and is a two-time All-GSAC selection in her two years at Concordia. She leads the nation in ERA, is second in strikeouts, third with only three earned runs allowed, and 11th with a 23-2 record. She was a three-time GSAC Pitcher of the Week and two-time NAIA Pitcher of the Week winner. On the Concordia career lists she is first in ERA, first in no-hitters with 15, third in shutouts, second in strikeouts, fifth in wins, and first in winning percentage (.93). She has single-season records in shutouts with 13, strikeouts at 298, and ERA at .14. She set a single-game record in strikeouts this season with 17 against Biola.
GSAC Player of the Year Jasmin Dresser is the second Concordia player to win player of the year. She joins Amanda Fama, who won the award last season. The freshman outfielder is first in the GSAC with a .459 batting average, third in slugging at .682, 14th with 24 RBI, fifth with 10 doubles, and 11th with three home runs. She was a two-time GSAC Player of the Week.
GSAC Coach of the Year Crystal Rosenthal earned her 200th win this season and now has a career record of 234-61. She has led her team to back-to-back seasons of No. 1 NAIA rankings, two GSAC Championships, and two GSAC-Cal Pac Conference Tournament Championships. She won the award last season and this marks the third time a Concordia coach has received the award. She has recorded five straight 40-win seasons.
Junior shortstop Jenna Jorgenson is only the fourth player in school history to be selected All-GSAC in three straight seasons. She is 13th in the nation in doubles at 19, 24th in RBI with 51, and 27th in home runs with 12. She was a two-time GSAC Player of the Week and has stolen nine bases.
Senior Pitcher Courtney Young is a two-time All-GSAC selection. She is second in the NAIA with a .260 ERA. She is second in the GSAC in ERA, ninth with 47 K's, and is fourth with 14 wins. She won one GSAC Pitcher of the Week award. On the all-time career list she is eighth in appearances (67), sixth in starts (54), fifth in shutouts (17), 10th in innings pitched, seventh in strikeouts, fourth in wins, second in winning percentage (.900), and second in ERA. On the single-season lists Young is the leader with a perfect 12-0 record last season.
Junior catcher Emily Craig is now a two-time All-GSAC selection. She is seventh in the GSAC with a .376 ERA, fifth in slugging at .639, eighth in hits at 50, fourth in RBI at 41, 12th in doubles with eight, and fourth in home runs with nine. She won one GSAC Player of the Week award.
Junior outfielder Caitrin Debaun won her first All-GSAC nod. Debaun is fifth in the GSAC with a .401 average, 10th in slugging at .521, fifth in hits with 57, fifth in doubles with 10, and fifth in triples with two. The leadoff hitter won one GSAC Player of the Week award and has stolen 13 bases.
Senior second baseman Shainna Groom earned her first All-GSAC nod. She is eighth in the nation in RBI at 62 and 36th with 64 hits. Groom is second in the conference in average at .427, second in slugging at .713, third in hits, first in RBI, eighth in doubles with nine, fifth in triples with two, and second in home runs with 10. She has also stolen nine bases. She has 87 RBI and is already fourth all-time on the single-season home run list. Groom is currently fifth on the single-season RBI list.
The Reinhardt Eagles like to move on the bases and are eighth in the NAIA in stolen bags with 108. They are 15th with an ERA of 1.97.
Co-AAC Pitcher of the Year Maddie Monroe is sixth in the NAIA in wins with 27, ninth in ERA at 1.28, and 14th in K's with 209. All-AAC selection Alexis Chumbler is 10th in the nation in triples with six. All-AAC honoree Haley Brannon is 24th with only 30 earned runs allowed. All-AAC second team selection Kelsey Floyd is 40th in the country with 11 home runs. All-AAC selection Shelby Sinclair leads the team with a .372 batting average and 57 hits. Brannon and All-AAC choice Kaley Garmon lead the team with 43 RBI each.
Glen Crawford is in his first year as Reinhardt University's assistant athletic director for compliance and fifth season as the head softball coach. As the Lady Eagles' head softball coach, he has led his teams to a 141-67 overall record in his four years at the helm, including a 58-32 mark in conference play. In 2011 under Crawford, Reinhardt made its first-ever appearance at the NAIA national event after winning the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament championship. He was voted AAC Coach of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
Reinhardt University is a comprehensive university grounded in the liberal arts located in Waleska, Georgia, United States, with an off-campus center in Alpharetta, Georgia. Select programs are also offered in Cartersville, Marietta, and Epworth, Ga., and online. Reinhardt is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.
The NAIA Softball National Championship is a double-elimination tournament. The 10-team event takes place from May 24 – 30 at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus, Ga. The facility was home to the 1998 Summer Olympic Games.There will up to 19 games played during a seven-day span on one championship stadium field. This format is a first in the 33-year history of the event. Most recently from 2005-12, the championship format included pool play and pool play champions advanced to double-elimination action. For ticket information, click here.
The Columbus Sports Council is the host and the event will be contested in the Peach State for the first time in championship history. Prior to this year, two cities in Alabama hosted the event since 2000, with Gulf Shores welcoming the teams in 2011 and 2012.
NeuLion, the NAIA's official video-streaming company of 18 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all 19 games. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-Championship pass is available for $29.95.