What to know about the DII softball championship final eight (2024)

And then there were eight. The 2024 DII softball championship heads to Boombah-Soldiers Creek Park in Longwood, Florida, to name its national champion. The new millennium will have to wait at least another year for that repeat champion, as defending champs North Georgia were sent home in the Southeast super regional.

FOLLOW THE TOURNAMENT: Updates, scores and schedule | Bracket

Here's a quick look at each of the eight teams heading to Florida this weekend.

The DII softball championship finals, broken down

Augustana (SD).The Vikings are the only team in the field to have previously won a national championship, winning it all first in 1991 and then again in 2019. Augustana is scorching hot, riding a 32-game winning streak into the finals — the longest winning streak in DII by 26 games. It was no easy task returning to the finals — the Vikings swept No. 5 nationally and No. 1 regionally Pittsburg State before sweeping through Rogers State in the supers — the same Rogers State that was national champions a mere two seasons ago.

AUM.The final eight is made up of four No. 1 regional seeds and the Warhawks are one of them. AUM had its hands full in the South Region, going the distance and playing five games to advance to the super regionals where it swept Gulf South Conference rival Mississippi College to move on. The Warhawks head to Florida with one of the most potent offenses in DII, sixth in DII in runs scored and eighth with a .350 batting average, both of which are the highest marks among the final eight. Additionally, Gia Martin has 20 home runs, which is the most among any slugger on any of the finalists.

Charleston (WV).The Golden Eagles were my team to watch in the Atlantic and they showed why, impressively taking two in a row from No. 2 West Chester to advance to the super regionals where they won in three over Kutztown. This is the second finals appearance for Charleston. Isabella Andujar and her 18 home runs and Hannah Rose with her .432 batting average and 1.316 OPS helped lead the Mountain East Conference's top offense, which Charleston hopes to keep going as it looks to make a historic run to its first national championship.

Lenoir-Rhyne.The Bears made program history and won the Southeast Region to advance to their first-ever DII softball championship finals. And what a way to do it: Lenoir-Rhyne pulled off the stunning upset, coming back from one game down to upend the defending national champion North Georgia Nighthawks in three. Lauren Rakes did just that in the finale, raking not one, but two home runs in an eight-run fourth inning in the decisive super regional Game 3. The two-way star went the distance, allowing no earned runs in the complete game victory, her 19th of the year. Rakes is one of five Bears' sluggers with double-digit home runs for a team that hit 92 on the season — the most among the final eight.

UIndy.The only thing that has seemingly slowed the Greyhounds this postseason is weather. Kenzee Smith started the firstfourgames of the Midwest Region tournament, going the distance inthree, without allowing a run in any — including an extra-inning complete game shutout. UIndy hit a speed bump, losing 1-0 to Trevecca Nazarene, before Smith fired anothercomplete game shutout to advance to Florida. Her ERA is down to 0.36 on the season and her WHIP is a mere 0.86. This is the Greyhounds third trip to the finals and first since 2015.

UT Tyler.Thrice is nice. That's right, this is the Patriots third-straight trip to the DII softball championship finals, making them one of just two teams returning from last year's field. Perhaps what is most remarkable about that is that the Patriots have only been a full-time DII program since 2021 (2020 was cut well too short to see what they were capable of). Over the past four seasons, the Patriots are 197-30, but a mere 5-4 in the finals. However, with this much experience returning on DII softball's largest stage, this may be the year the Patriots can go the distance.

Western Washington.Well, the Vikings sure made it dramatic. Trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the seventh of the winner-take-all West super regional, the Vikings surged back, tied it at six to send it to extras — powered by aKanilehua Pitoy three-run bomb — where freshman Maleah Andrews walked it off with a home run to left centerfield. This is not only the Vikings' first appearance in the final eight; it is the first time a Great Northwest Athletic Conference team has ever made it this far in the tournament.

Wilmington (DE).The Wildcats and Adelphi have become quite the tournament rivals. The two have met in the East super regionals in each of the past three seasons, with the Wildcats winning the last two, making Wilmington (DE) one of the two returning teams to this year's field of eight. The Wildcats have yet to allow a run in the tournament, winning their games by a combined score of 36-0. Pitcher Kylee Gunkel, who was named East Region pitcher of the year, tossed the shutout in Game 1 and fellow ace Delani Sheehan tossed a one-hit masterpiece in the decisive super regional victory.

The great eight, by the numbers

SchoolBatting AverageRunsHome RunsWinsERAStrikeouts
Augustana SD.34840387491.68333
AUM.35043271463.28281
Charleston (WV).34836661511.82403
Lenoir-Rhyne.33041592503.64435
UIndy.31141557581.30396
UT Tyler.33141433531.83312
Western Washington.29328446481.78268
Wilmington (DE).34834520451.97240

*BOLD = top mark among remaining eight teams

What to know about the DII softball championship final eight (2024)
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