Posted: Jan 28, 2013 9:26 PM
FAYETTE, MO -- No. 18 Central Methodist will kick off its 2013 season against Bacone (Neb.) in the Saint Gregory's Invitational on Friday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m. CT to start the team's 55-game regular-season schedule for 2013.
This season's schedule for the two-time defending Heart of America Athletic Conference champion features 10 home doubleheaders, nine Heart of America Athletic Conference doubleheaders, eight showdowns against preseason nationally ranked teams and six opponents that reached the 2012 NAIA National Championship Tournament. Five of the conference doubleheaders are in the friendly confines of Cox Field.
After Central Methodist's neutral site game against Bacone, the Eagles will battle Oklahoma Baptist at 4 p.m. The Eagles will conclude play in the Saint Gregory's Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Saint Gregory's Softball Complex against Oklahoma Wesleyan and the 16th-ranked Cavaliers.
After two non-conference games at Grand View (Iowa) and Park (Mo.), Central Methodist opens its home portion of the schedule with two doubleheaders, against No. 12 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) on Feb. 23 and William Woods (Mo.) on Feb. 24.
The Eagles then hit the road for 21 straight games away from Cox Field versus non-conference foes, including five against preseason Top 25 squads: No. 4 Oklahoma City on March 2, No. 7 William Carey (Miss.) on March 8, No. 11 Lee (Tenn.) on March 9 and a doubleheader at No. 19 Mobile (Ala.) on March 12. All four opponents, along with Saint Gregory's and Olivet Nazarene, advanced to the NAIA National Championship Tournament last season. Central Methodist's battle with William Carey will be a rematch of a May 18, 2012 National Championship Pool Play game that was won by the Lady Crusaders.
The rest of Central Methodist's non-conference doubleheader schedule includes home dates with Harris-Stowe State (Mo.) on March 26, Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) on March 29 and Southwest Baptist (Mo.) on April 12.
The Green and Black open Heart of America Athletic Conference doubleheader play at Graceland (Iowa) on Saturday, March 23. After traveling to Culver-Stockton (Mo.) on March 27, the Eagles return to Cox Field for their first HAAC home doubleheader on Tuesday, April 2, against Peru State (Neb.). The rest of Central Methodist's conference schedule includes MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) on April 6, at Benedictine (Kan.) on April 7, Evangel (Mo.) on April 10, Baker (Kan.) on April 16 and Missouri Valley on April 20. The Eagles will celebrate Senior Day against the archrival Vikings on April 20 starting at 1 p.m.
Central Methodist will look to defend its 2012 HAAC Tournament title on April 26-May 4. Like last season, the quarterfinal round on April 26-27 will be a best two-of-three series at the higher seed's home field. The semifinal and championship rounds on May 3-4 in Overland Park, Kan., are a double-elimination format.
The 2013 NAIA Softball National Championship Tournament is scheduled for May 13-30. The Eagles are looking for a return trip to the big stage after reaching last season's National Championship Tournament for the first time since 1981 and only the second time in school history.