Types of Softball Tournament Brackets

By Steve Silverman
Types, Softball Tournament Brackets
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Softball championships are decided in the postseason. Teams have to play well enough in the regular season to qualify to play in the postseason. Once a team gets to the postseason, it might face a single-elimination tournament, a round-robin or a double-elimination tournament. Many coaches prefer the round-robin tournament because teams get an opportunity to play each team and if a team performs well enough, your team will play for a championship.

Single-Elimination Bracket

In a single-elimination bracket, a team will be in a tournament with 32 or 64 teams. In a 64-team tournament, if a team wins the first round, it will be one of 32 left in the tournament. If a team wins the next round, it will be one of 16 teams left. After each game, the field is cut in half. The two survivors of the first five rounds will meet in the finals for the championship. Coaches with teams that have gotten hot in the second half of the season like this format because their team can sweep through.

Round-Robin Bracket

In a round-robin tournament, every team will play every other team in the first round. This usually works as long as there are no more than eight teams in the bracket. In an eight-team round robin, each team plays seven games. At the end of the first round, the two teams with the best overall record will meet in a championship round (usually a best-of-three format) for the championship.

Double-Elimination Bracket

In a double-elimination softball tournament, all teams remain in competition for the title until they have lost two games. Start a draw sheet like you would a single-elimination tournament. When teams lose their first game, they are moved to another bracket and compete against teams that have also lost. This continues until you have one team left on the winner's side and another left on the side of teams that have lost a game. In the championship round, the undefeated team faces the team that survived the second bracket without losing a second game. If the undefeated team wins the matchup against the team from the "one-loss" bracket, it wins the championship because it gave its opponent a second loss. If the "one-loss" team wins the game, the two teams meet again and the winner of that game wins the championship because it will result in the second loss for one of the two teams.

About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.