MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande will be the top seed in the 2021 River States Conference Softball Championship, which gets underway Thursday evening at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna, W.Va.
The winner of the six-team, double-elimination tournament will advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round with an automatic bid from the RSC.
Rio Grande secured a bid to nationals as the RSC regular-season champion on Monday when Carlow University upended Indiana University Southeast in the first game of their doubleheader.
The RedStorm finished regular season play at 42-13 overall and 23-3 in the RSC, edging the Grenadiers (42-14, 22-4 RSC) for the regular-season title.
The top three teams from each of the league’s East & West Divisions qualified for the championship tournament. Rio Grande won the RSC East, while IU Southeast won the RSC West. Both received byes into the second day of the tournament on Friday.
The championship begins on Thursday night with a pair of games at 6 p.m.
Midway (Ky.) University, the No. 2 seed from the RSC West, will play West Virginia University-Tech, the No. 3 seed from the RSC East. The winner of that matchup will face Rio Grande on Friday at 10 a.m.
The other matchup on Thursday pits Carlow (Pa.) University, the No. 2 seed from the RSC East, versus Asbury (Ky.) University, the No. 3 seed from the RSC West. The winner will meet IU Southeast in the winner’s bracket on Friday at 10 a.m.
Friday’s action also has Thursday night’s loser’s playing Friday morning’s losers in a pair of elimination games at noon, the winner’s bracket final at 2 p.m. and the survivors of the noon contests in a loser’s bracket elimination game at 4 p.m.
Saturday begins with the loser’s bracket final at 10 a.m., followed by the championship round starting at 1 p.m. If necessary, a second championship game will be played 30 minutes later.
The RSC Game Central, presented by Stretch Internet, will broadcast live streaming video of all games of the championship. Fans may subscribe for $7.95 per game or $19.99 for the entire tournament. Live stats will be provided on DakStats.
Fans are permitted to attend the championship. Daily admission price is $6 for adults, $3 for students with ID, $3 for seniors 60 and over. Children under 10 are free.
Masks are required when unable to social distance. Spectators may bring their own chairs and sit outside the fence down the baselines.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.