NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Two Hampton Roads softball powerhouses are part of the field of 62 that will battle for an NCAA Division III National Championship beginning this week and the road to the title could end up going through each other.
Top-ranked Christopher Newport will host and NCAA Regional action at Captains Park starting Friday. Wilson College, Messiah College and Hunter College will join the Captains in their pod of four in this double-elimination first stage of the NCAA Tournament. CNU will take on Wilson at 4:30 PM on Friday to open up its tournament slate. Action will continue with three games on Saturday and wrap up on Sunday with up to two games if necessary.
Christopher Newport enters the tournament 37-1 and are fresh off a Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference championship. It's only loss of the campaign came to Averett, an 8-5 defeat back on March 27. The Captains have won 14 straight games are are 18-0 on their home field. Friday will mark their first ever meeting with Wilson. CNU is 4-5 against Messiah and won the only previous meeting with Hunter.
Virginia Wesleyan will travel to Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, for its regional slate. The University of Rochester and Husson University are also part of the pod. The Marlins open with Rochester on Friday. The format for this regional matches that of Christopher Newport's pod, double elimation with games Friday through Sunday.
VWU is the defending national champion and has won three of the last four national titles awarded. The Marlins are coming off their sixth consecutive ODAC Championship and are 33-11 on the season. They've won eight of their last nine games.
If both Christopher Newport and Virginia Wesleyan win their respective regional rounds, they would meet in a battle of Hampton Roads in the Super Regional round on May 20-21. The Captains won the lone match-up between the two teams in 2022, 6-1, on March 23.