Carroll College softball coach Aaron Jackson released to 2017 schedule on Tuesday.
The schedule sees a change in the Cascade Conference slate, a tough tournament in Southern California and a doubleheader against the University of Montana.
The reigning Cascade Conference Eastern Division champion Saints will not have the opportunity to defend their title. With Walla Walla dropping out of the Cascade for softball, the divisions have been dissolved. The 10 remaining teams will now play a true round-robin, each team facing the rest in three conference games. The Saints will also play a fourth, nonconference game against each conference opponent for a pair of doubleheaders.
The Saints start the year at the Triple Crown Sports NAIA SoCal Classic. Carroll plays six teams, starting with Arizona Christian on Feb. 17 in West Covina, California. The Saints play Hope International, Embry-Riddle (Ariz.), La Sierra University, Antelope Valley and Marymount California in the three-day tournament.
"The 2017 schedule is once again loaded with top level teams that will prepare us for Cascade Conference Play and postseason play," Jackson said. "We start the year with a great slate of games in West Covina. Our season opener will be against Arizona Christian, a team that was a conference champion and national tournament participant a year ago. We have had some great games with them in the past and are excited to open up with such a great team. This game will allow us a good measuring stick to see where we are at."
Carroll jumps right into conference action on March, 3-4, on the road, against the University of Great Falls. The Saints then host the University of British Columbia before traveling to play at the College of Idaho. Northwest Christian and Eastern Oregon make their way to Helena before Carroll travels to play at Oregon Tech and Northwest University.
The Saints host Southern Oregon in the final home series before hitting the road for a season-ending series against Corban University on April 28-29.
Before the final games at Corban, the Saints will take the diamond in Missoula against another third-year program in the University of Montana on April, 26. The game will be an exhibition for the Saints.
Carroll won just 13 games in 2015, but went 24-20 last season en route to the East Division title.
"It is exciting going into year three and having a team that has some experience playing in the Cascade and competing in the postseason," Jackson said. "We look to build on our East Division Championship from last year and turn that into a Cascade Conference Championship this year. We have added some missing pieces to our lineup and I am excited to see how our team comes together over the course of the season."