LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Babson College softball team is one of 24 programs selected to participate in the 2020 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Leadoff Classic, which will be held at the Lincoln Park Complex held in Tucson, Ariz., from March 6-8.
The Beavers will be making their second NFCA Leadoff Classic appearance after going 3-3 in six games at the 2018 event. The 2020 field features 15 programs that participated in last season's NCAA Tournament, including defending national champion Texas Lutheran University, runner-up Emory College and College World Series participants Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of St. Thomas (Minn.).
Babson opens the tournament against Pacific Lutheran University, which recorded its most wins since 2013 last spring, and Texas Lutheran, which went 40-8 on the way to capturing its first national title, on March 6. The Beavers will face a pair of NCAA regional participants in Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Emory & Henry University on March 7. The Athenas went 31-13 last season, while the Wasps reached the national tournament for the second time in three years and finished at 25-18 overall.
The Green and White wraps up the weekend in Tucson with contests against LeTourneau University and Alma College. The Yellow Jackets set a new program record with 24 victories in 2019, while the Scots, who reached the 2015 Division III College World Series, are coming off their fifth consecutive season of 20 or more wins.
Under the guidance of 21st-year head coach Dave Canan, Babson returns 16 players from a team that went 25-15 in 2019. The Beavers, who advanced to the super regionals in their last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017, return six starters and its top three pitchers from last year's squad.