By Nikki Sherrill, NAIA Communication & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 2017 & 2018 NAIA Softball World Series have a new home in Clermont, Fla., as PFX Athletics, Lake County Economic Development and Tourism and the Central Florida Sports Commission are partnering up to bring the event to the Sunshine State.
During these two events, competition will take place at the Legends Way Ball Fields in Clermont. The 2017 World Series will begin play on May 26 and run through June 1, while the 2018 event will be held May 25-31. These two seasons will be the 37th and 38th annual events by the NAIA.
Currently, 191 institutions sponsor softball as a varsity sport, however, only 10 teams will make it to Clermont as the World Series is a double-elimination format event. The current format has been in effect since 2013. Champions from each of the 10 NAIA National Championship Opening Rounds will advance to the final site in Clermont.
“The NAIA is very excited to bring our NAIA Softball World Series to the Sunshine State and the beautiful city of Clermont,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “We are thrilled to be partnering with PFX Athletics, Lake County Economic Development and Tourism and Central Florida Sports Commission to host this top-notch event for our student-coaches, fans and central Florida community.”
This will be the first time the city of Clermont has hosted the Softball World Series, and they now become the 15th host city for this event. Two other Florida cities have been named hosts for the event, with Pensacola hosting in 1990 and 1992, and Jupiter in 1999. The previous two events were held in Sioux City, Iowa, and hosted by Morningside College. Decatur, Ala., was the location for the most softball action, as it was the host for 11-straight years from 2000-2010.
Florida will be a big travel spot for NAIA championships this year, as the 58th Annual NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship final rounds will be in Delray Beach, the 61st Annual NAIA Football National Championship game will be played in Daytona Beach, and the 23rd Annual NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships will end the year in Palm Beach Gardens.
“In partnership with Lake County Economic Development and Tourism and PFX Athletics, we are pleased to welcome the NAIA Softball World Series to Clermont in 2017 and 2018,” said Jason Siegel, Interim President & CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “We look forward to hosting their coaches, student-athletes and staff from around the nation to ensure that they have a tremendous experience.”
PFX Athletics is an organization in Clermont that was founded by Dot Richardson in 1996. The organization prides itself on helping girls and women have the chance to make their athletic dreams come true. PFX started as an athletic training organization, and was the non-profit portion of the PFX Tour from 2006-2011. In 2014, PFX Athletics was selected to manage the Legends Way Ball Fields by hosting and promoting local, state, national and international softball events. To learn more about PFX Athletics, click here.
“We are very excited to be hosting the NAIA Softball World Series at Legends Way Ball Fields in 2017 and 2018. It has been a pleasure to work with the NAIA National Office as well as the many NAIA teams who have attended our events in past years and we are looking forward to honoring these teams at the event that will determine the national champion for NAIA Softball,” said Alison Strange, President of PFX Athletics.
The Legends Way Ball Fields is located at the National Training Center. This complex is considered a premier fast-pitch venue within the Southeast. The complex holds five regulation fast-pitch softball fields, including one stadium, as well as five fast-pitch batting cages. To learn more about the Legends Way Ball Fields, click here.
In 1981, the NAIA began sponsoring softball and its inaugural championship was held in Conroe, Texas, with former members Sam Houston State (Texas) defeating Emporia State (Kan.), 1-0 to become national champions. Top seed Oklahoma City was crowned 2016 national champions with a 5-0 shutout over Saint Xavier (Ill.). For a complete list of participating schools, click here.
About National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA):
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. NAIA members provide more than 65,000 student-athletes with opportunities to play college sports, earn $500 million in scholarships and compete in 25 national championships. www.naia.org | @NAIA_News
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