HADLEY, Mass. – Tufts will host the 2019 NESCAC Softball Championship, which is set for May 3-5, in Medford, Mass. For the second straight year, the top four teams in each division qualify and will play a single-elimination format. The NESCAC Champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.
Every game of the 2019 NESCAC Softball Championship will be streamed online and the broadcasts can also be seen on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire. Search for and download the ‘NESCAC Network’ channel.
Tufts (27-8, 10-2 NESCAC), the top seed in the East Division, is hosting the NESCAC Championship for the eighth time overall and the first time since 2015. The Jumbos have qualified for the tournament for the 17th time and are the top seed in the East for the 15th time in program history. Tufts went 10-2 in conference play and enters the tournament having won seven of its final nine regular-season contests. The Jumbos are batting .318 as a team and averaging 5.8 runs per game. The Tufts pitching staff ranks second in the NESCAC with a 1.95 ERA and leads the league in strikeouts (198).
Tufts will face Middlebury (12-17, 4-8 NESCAC) in the opening game of the NESCAC Championship on Friday. The Panthers are the No. 4 seed in the West Division and making their second straight appearance in the tournament field. Middlebury owns a team batting average of .326 and is tied for the league lead in slugging percentage (.472) while averaging 6.7 runs per game. Tufts is 6-3 versus Middlebury in the NESCAC Championship series. The two teams last met in Game 1 of the 2015 championship with the Jumbos posting a 2-0 victory. Middlebury won its lone NESCAC title in 2011, while the Jumbos won their 10th NESCAC crown in 2015.
Williams (31-4, 12-0 NESCAC), the three-time defending NESCAC Champion, earned the top seed in the West Division for the 13th time in program history. The Ephs are making their sixth straight appearance in the tournament and have qualified for the tournament 17 times since 2001. Williams went unbeaten in the West Division for the third time in program history (2001, 2006) and is the only West Division team to post an unbeaten conference slate in NESCAC history since 2001. The Ephs enter the NESCAC Championship riding a school-record tying 20-game win streak. Williams is batting .302 with a conference-best 33 home runs and is tied for the league lead in slugging percentage (.472). Williams pitchers have combined to post a 1.85 ERA to lead the conference and have issued a league-low 65 walks.
The Ephs will meet Bates (14-20, 5-7 NESCAC) in the second game on Friday to open defense of their NESCAC title. The Bobcats are making their second straight appearance in the tournament as the No. 4 seed in the East. Bates is hitting .277 this season while slugging 351. Bates' pitchers have worked 221.0 innings and combined for a 3.36 ERA. Williams won a Game 3 matchup in the 2009 championship, 14-6, in the only meeting between the two teams. The Ephs swept Bates in Williamstown on April 14 (2-1 and 9-1) in a non-divisional doubleheader. Williams has won six NESCAC titles overall, while Bates is looking for its first NESCAC postseason victory.
Bowdoin (26-10, 8-4 NESCAC) earned the No. 2 seed in the East with a series sweep of Bates to end the regular season. The Polar Bears have qualified for the NESCAC Championship for the seventh time in eight years and third straight season. Bowdoin is also the No. 2 seed in the East for the sixth time in eight years. The Polar Bears enter the championship with a 13-game win streak and are hitting .314 while slugging .471. Bowdoin has hit 20 home runs this season, which ranks second in the league. The Polar Bears' pitching staff has a 2.64 ERA and the second most strikeouts in the conference (193).
Bowdoin will face Amherst (19-10, 6-6 NESCAC), the No. 3 seed in the West Division, in the second game on Saturday. The Mammoths swept the series versus Middlebury to close the regular season and grab the No. 3 seed. Amherst is making its fourth consecutive appearance and eighth overall in the tournament. The Mammoths are hitting .308 and lead the NESCAC in stolen bases with 92. The Amherst pitchers have combined for a 2.64 ERA while allowing the fewest hits among NESCAC teams this season (175). The NESCAC postseason series between Bowdoin and Amherst is knotted up at 3-3. The two teams last met in Game 5 of the 2018 championship with the Polar Bears earning a 2-1 win to even the series.
The Hamilton Continentals (26-9, 7-5 NESCAC) are the No. 2 seed in the West Division and are making their first appearance in the NESCAC Championship Tournament in program history under first-year head coach Stephanie Hartquist. Hamilton, which has won nine of its last 12 games entering the tournament, leads the conference in hitting with a .345 average and is slugging .469 this season. The Continentals are averaging 6.8 runs per game, while the pitching staff has a 3.00 ERA.
The Continentals will take on Trinity (17-13, 7-5 NESCAC), the No. 3 seed in the East, in the first game on Saturday. The Bantams are making their fourth straight appearance in the NESCAC Championship and have qualified for the ninth time overall. Trinity won four of its last five conference games to close out the NESCAC schedule. The Bantams are batting .305 and slugging. 439 this season. Trinity and Hamilton have never met in the NESCAC postseason. The Bantams are looking to reach the NESCAC Finals for the first time since 2007.
Results from all games of the 2019 NESCAC Softball Championship will be posted at NESCAC.com at the end of each day.