Several teams from 2022 event shining brightly this season
Tournament officials with the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC) are deep into preparations for the 2023 event, scheduled for May 18-21 at the Triple Crown Sports complex in Fort Collins, CO.
This will be the fifth edition of the NISC, which offers an NCAA Division-I softball postseason option for deserving programs outside the NCAA tournament field. In 2022, the NISC crowned Baylor as champion; previous winners of the event include Liberty, Loyola-Marymount and UT-Arlington. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there was no event held in 2020 and 2021.
The NISC will be played on two fields at the TCS facility in a double-elim format through the Super Regionals round. The championship concludes with a four-team single-elim bracket.
Many teams that played in the 2022 NISC have enjoyed outstanding 2023 campaigns. Baylor is 22-5, ranked 20th in the most recent NFCA Coaches Poll, and owns a victory over top-ranked Oklahoma, the Sooners’ only loss of the season. Central Arkansas (18-7) beat No. 12 Arkansas on March 6; North Alabama has a 17-6 record, and Rutgers is 23-10. Virginia is also off to a good start, sitting at 20-10.
Baylor coach Glenn Moore took a few moments to share the impact and value his program received from playing in the 2022 NISC.
Q: One theory is, the NISC could either help a young team get valuable postseason experience or be a nice reward for a veteran team looking for that last run together. Did Baylor in 2022 have any of that going on?
First of all this team loved playing the game. We were young with on two seniors and a junior on the roster and we made youthful mistakes that ultimately cost us, as an NCAA bubble team to not get selected. We felt we were very close to getting over the hump with this group. The opportunity to practice and compete for a purpose would be valuable to us not only for the legacy of the current team but also for future teams. The key for us was the team embracing this opportunity and selling out to winning a championship. They did and we had 11 more high quality practices and four competitions. The environment was exciting and the event was run in a first-class manner. I have no doubt this decision paid great dividends to getting us back to where we expect to be as a program. It was also one of the most enjoyable experiences for any team I’ve coached.
Did it lift the roster’s spirits to know the 2022 season didn’t have to just stop after the Big 12 tourney and the tough loss to Iowa State?
We want athletes who love competition more than the trophy. This team was that team. Everyone wants to win the biggest prize on the biggest stage but ultimately when you have left it all on the field and your name wasn’t called there’s now another option for those who were close. There are many great teams in our sport today and with all the automatic qualifiers there are often teams left out of the field of 64 that are stronger than some chosen unfortunately. We wanted to keep playing and because of the NISC we played longer than 48 of the 64 teams in the NCAA tournament.
What would you tell teams looking at the NISC but are not quite sure about playing?
I’ve had many ask about our experience and I can only speak for Baylor but it’s clear to everyone involved in our program that we benefited from the experience. As we started the 2022 fall season it was evident we were already on solid footing and practiced with more confidence and higher expectations than we would have after a year of just “falling short.” The attitude was immediately of a championship mindset from the start.
Women's NISC - Home (womensnisc.com)