Field of 59 Selected; First-Round Action to Begin at Eight Sites

Indianapolis, IN (5/4/09) -- The NCAA Division III Softball Committee has announced the 59 teams that will compete in the Division III Softball Championship.

Seven teams will compete at five first-round sites and eight teams will compete at three first-round sites for a total of eight first-round sites.  All sites will use a double-elimination format.

The seven-team first rounds will be held May 7-10 on the campuses of competing institutions.  The eight-team first rounds will be held May 7-11 on the campuses of competing institutions.  The finals, hosted by Montclair State University, will be held May 15-19 at the Montclair State University Softball Stadium in Montclair, New Jersey.

Click Here for First-Round Brackets

Thirty-seven conferences received automatic qualification and five independents were selected for the 2009 championship.  The 17 remaining teams were selected on an at-large basis from automatic qualifying conferences and the remaining independent institutions.

Earning numbers one seeds in each of the first-round sites were Tufts University (38-1) in the Beverly, Massachusetts bracket; Wisconsin-Whitewater (36-5) in the Bloomington, Illinois site; Ohio Northern University (35-3) at the Greencastle, Indiana site; Messiah College (35-4) at Mahwah, New Jersey; Cortland State (40-6) in the Ithaca, New York first-round site; Linfield College (36-4) in the Marshall, Texas bracket; Lynchburg College (37-6-1) at Salisbury, Maryland and St. Thomas (MN) (39-4) in the Indianola, Iowa site.

Wisconsin Eau-Claire, the 2008 national champion will get an opportunity to defend its title. The Bluegolds (27-14) were tabbed as the fifth-seeded in the Bloomington bracket and could perhaps face Wisconsin-Whitewater in a rematch of last year's championship game in Salem, VA. However this time it would be trip to the finals on the line.

The conferences and teams that received automatic qualification were:

Allegheny Mountain CC – Pennsylvania State University Erie, the Behrend College
American Southwest – University of Texas at Tyler
Centennial – Muhlenberg College
CUNYAC – College of Staten Island
CCIW – Illinois Wesleyan University
Colonial States – Neumann College
Commonwealth
– Messiah College
Commonwealth Coast – Endicott College
Empire 8 – St. John Fisher College
Freedom – King’s College (Pennsylvania)
Great Northeast – Emerson College
Great South – LaGrange College
Heartland Collegiate – Defiance College
Iowa Intercollegiate – Coe College
Little East – Rhode Island College
MASCAC – Bridgewater State College
Michigan Intercol. – Alma College
Midwest – St. Norbert College
Minnesota Intercol. – University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)
NESCAC – Tufts University
NEWMAC – Springfield College
NJAC – William Paterson University of New Jersey
North Atlantic – Husson University
North Coast – Hiram College
North Eastern – Keuka College
Northern Athletics – Concordia University (Wisconsin)
Northwest – Linfield College
OAC – Ohio Northern University
Old Dominion – Lynchburg College
Presidents’ – Thomas More College
Skyline – State University of New York at Farmingdale
SCIAC – University of Redlands
SLIAC – Webster University
Southern Collegiate – DePauw University
SUNYAC – Buffalo State College
USA South – Christopher Newport University
Wisconsin Intercollegiate – University of Wisconsin, La Crosse