A free kickoff event to welcome the 10 teams competing for the NAIA championship is scheduled from 5:30-8:30pm Thursday at Waterfront Park, 100 3rd St., Clermont. The event will include food trucks, a live concert by country music artist Patrick Gibson, and fireworks.
The World Series is a double-elimination format starting Friday and leading to the June 1 championship game at the ballfields, 2350 Legends Way, at the National Training Center.
The teams include seventh-seeded Warner University (28-13), in Lake Wales, which plays 10th-seeded Ottawa (Kan.) University (39-16) at 10am Friday in the opening game of the tournament.
The top seeds are nine-time and defending national champion Oklahoma City University (64-1) and No. 2 seed Columbia (Mo.) College (46-5).
Lake County Economic Development and Tourism, the Central Florida Sports Commission, and PFX Athletics have partnered to bring the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series to Clermont for the first time, according to a news release. PFX Athletics is a nonprofit organization that oversees the ballfields. Since 1996, it has focused on the advancement of women and girls through the sport of fast-pitch softball.