Over the weekend the NCAA Division I Softball Committee announced the 2016 Championship Field.
The Southeastern Conference led all leagues for the second straight year with 11 teams selected to the championship tournament. The Pac-12 Conference placed eight teams in the championship tournament, respectively. Five teams are making their first appearance in the tournament: Alabama State, Butler University, California State University, Bakersfield, University of Mississippi and Samford University.
Only 12 schools have been crowned the NCAA Division I softball champion since the tournament started in 1982, and all 12 will compete in this year’s bracket.
Softball Factory has 36 alumni playing in this years’ regionals field of 64 with many more 2016 and 2017 graduates committed to these schools. Below are Softball Factory alumni who are playing for schools in this years’ tournaments:
Nicole DeWitt (’14) and Kelly Barnhill (’15) both play for powerhouse Florida. DeWitt, a utility player, started in 56 games for the Gators this season. In 139 plate appearances she recorded 47 hits. Going into the Gainesville Regional she it hitting .338 with 6 home runs and 36 RBI. Barnhill, a starting RHP, recorded a 15-0 record during the season. Heading into regionals, she has struck out 163 players and has a 1.26 ERA. Nicole participated in a 2011 Softball Factory Showcase event in Irvine, CA. We first saw Kelly at an April 2013 College PREP event in Atlanta, GA.
Meghan Gregg (’14) is a sophomore infielder at the University of Tennessee, who are entering the Regional Tournament ranked 13th. Gregg started in 55 games for the Vols this season, scoring 49 runs and 58 RBI. She enters the Knoxville Regional tournament hitting .391 and with a .505 OBP. Softball Factory coaches saw Meghan at a 2013 National Tryout in Atlanta, GA.
Twin sisters and dynamic pitcher/catcher duo, Randi and Sara Rupp (’14), continue to stand out at Texas State. Randi recorded a 29-12 starting record this season as well as two saves when coming in as relief. Her 1.66 ERA is ranked 25th among all Division I pitchers. Sara enters the Tuscaloosa Regional with a .991 fielding percentage, making 207 PO and assisting in 16 others. We first saw both sisters at an October 2011 National Tryout in Pearland, TX.
In her first year of collegiate softball, Keeli Milligan (’15) has made her name known at Texas A&M. The freshman outfielder started in all 55 games for the Aggies and has a .957 fielding percentage. She recorded 70 hits in 182 plate appearances and has successfully stolen base in all 57 attempts made. Heading into the Lafayette Regional, Milligan is hitting a team second-best .385. Keeli was selected to participate in Softball Factory’s Pre Season All American Tournament in 2014 after we first saw her at a November 2013 National Tryout in Houston, TX.
Lexie Higgins (’14) is a sophomore infielder who will get to be a part of history this year with Samford University who is making their first appearance in the regional tournament. Higgins started in all 58 games the Bulldogs played this season. Going into the Tuscaloosa Regional, she is hitting .282 with a team second-best 9 home runs. We first saw Lexie at a 2012 College PREP event in Birmingham, AL.
Madison Anthony (’13) is a junior infielder at Oregon State, who will be making their first appearance since 2013 in the Regional Tournament. Anthony played in 45 games for the Beavers this season. Her fielding percentage sits at .925 and she’s made 37 putouts and a team-high 87 assists. She enters the Auburn Regional with a .263 batting average and a team-best nine home runs under her belt. Softball Factory coaches first saw Madison at a May 2013 College PREP event in Vancouver, WA.