KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Oregon Tech earned the Cascade Conference’s second auto qualifier on Sunday to the NAIA Opening Round and found out today that they will head to Marion, Indiana and play in the Marion Bracket hosted by Indiana Wesleyan University at Wildcat Field. The Owls will be the No. 1 seed and will open up play on Monday, May 13 against Siena Heights (Mich.) at 10:30 AM (Pacific)
Out of the Crossroads League, the host school Indiana Wesleyan University (42-13-1) is the No.2 seed and was ranked at No.13 in the final NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll. Oregon Tech (40-15) is the No.1 seed in the Bracket as the Owls stayed at the No.10 spot in this week’s Coaches’ Poll. The rest of the bracket consists of No. 3 seeded Central Baptist (Ark.) (33-13) out of the American Midwest Conference and the No.4 seed Siena Heights (Mich.) (36-17) from the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. Both Central Baptist and Siena Heights ended the regular season in the receiving votes category in the Top 25 poll.
All of Oregon Tech’s games will be broadcast live locally on 104.3 and 960 Sports with the listen live link here with Michael Garrard providing the play by play.
The champions from each of the 10 opening round tournaments will advance to the double-elimination 39th annual NAIA Softball World Series being held for the first time at Killian Sports Complex in Springfield, MO.
Oregon Tech lost to No.1 seeded Georgia Gwinnett in the Championship game in the “Lawrenceville Bracket” in last year’s NAIA Opening Round in Lawrenceville, Georgia. That loss was the third straight year the Owls had lost an NAIA Opening Round Championship game, leaving them one win from the NAIA Softball World Series.
Oregon Tech, who won the 2011 NAIA National Championship, and finished fourth in the country in 2015 will be making their eleventh appearance in the NAIA National Tournament, including their ninth appearance in the last 10 years. The Owls have a record of 13-7 in Opening Round Games.
The Cascade Collegiate Conference boasts the most members in the opening round with four: College of Idaho, Corban (Ore.), Oregon Tech, and Southern Oregon.
About our first opponent: Siena Heights (Mich.) won the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC ) postseason tournament to earn the automatic qualifier to the Opening Round. The Saints finished third in conference play with a record of 16-6 behind first place finisher Madonna University (18-4) and Lawrence Tech (16-5-1). The Saints head into the Opening Round on a six-game win streak and will be making their first ever appearance in the NAIA National Tournament.
Siena Heights is led by WHAC Player of the Year Ashley Helmink and All-Conference Pitcher Racquel Ward. Helmink led Siena with a .464 average with 10-home runs, 59-RBI, 9-triples and 25-doubles. Ward was 18-8 on the year with a 2.43 ERA with 109 strike-outs in 190 innings pitched.
NAIA National Championship Opening Round – Indiana Wesleyan University – Wildcat Field
(All Times listed are Pacific Time)
Monday, May 13
Game 1 – 8:00 AM: #2 Indiana Wesleyan vs. #3 Central Baptist
Game 2 – 10:30 AM: #1 Oregon Tech vs. #4 Siena Heights
Tuesday, May 14
Game 3 – 8:00 AM: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 4 – 10:30 AM: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 5 – 1:00 PM: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Wednesday, May 15
Game 6 – 8:00 AM: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 – Championship Game
Game 7 – 10:30 AM: If necessary
TOP 25 COACHES’ POLL
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL||RECORD||FINAL POINTS|
|1||1||Science & Arts (Okla.) ||52-1||526|
|2||2||Marian (Ind.) ||48-0||513|
|5||5||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||46-2||469|
|6||7||Valley City State (N.D.)||51-3||436|
|11||12||Hope International (Calif.)||44-12||354|
|16||21||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||38-8||256|
|17||14||William Carey (Miss.)||36-14||255|
|19||20||USC Beaufort (S.C.)||40-11||225|
|21||18||Grand View (Iowa)||44-10||208|
|22||NR||College of Idaho||38-15||140|
RECEIVING VOTES: Corban (Ore.) 83, Central Baptist (Ark.) 59, Taylor (Ind.) 57, LSU Alexandria (La.) 48, Marymount California 46, Siena Heights (Mich.) 26, St. Francis (Ill.) 22, Rio Grande (Ohio) 18, Coastal Georgia 14, Tennessee Wesleyan 10, Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 3, Central Methodist (Mo.) 3