FREELAND, Mich.-- The Trine softball team has been picked as the favorite to repeat as MIAA Champions in the conference's preseason poll, released Thursday.
The Thunder received four of nine first-place votes to tie for the most first-place votes received. Trine's votes totaled 60 points as the top three teams in the poll were separated by just six points. Point-totals are calculated off votes cast by the conference's coaches, who cannot vote for their own team. The Thunder have won the last four MIAA regular-season titles and the last three MIAA tournament crowns. Trine earned its eighth-consecutive bid to the NCAA Regionals last season and concluded the year with a 39-5 overall record.
Headlining Trine's returners is NFCA Third Team All-American Kaylee Fox (Vermillion, Ohio/Edison). Fox burst onto the national stage as a freshman, ranking third in the nation with 16 home runs and 11th in the country with 55 RBIs. The first baseman batted .405 with a .797 slugging percentage.
The Thunder also return two NFCA All-Region performers, including MIAA Most Valuable Pitcher Justine Robles (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood). Robles tossed a school-record seven shutouts last year, compiling an 18-4 record to go along with a 2.45 ERA.
Trine expects fellow All-Region performer Kaitlyn Clark (Mount Juliet, Tenn./Wilson Central) to return to the lineup midseason. Clark is the school's all-time leader in RBIs. Third baseman Kendra Marshall (Leesburg, Ind./Warsaw) is also a key returned for the Thunder after posting back-to-back all-conference campaigns.
After graduating six seniors, Trine will be relying on a large number of newcomers to the lineup. Four freshman will compete alongside returning players to round out the starting nine and pitching rotation.
Trine opens the season with its traditional spring-break trip to Florida. The first pitch of the season is slated for 11:15 a.m. Sunday, Mar. 6 against Simpson. The Thunder will also compete in the NFCA Leadoff Classic as part of its spring-break trip. For the complete schedule, CLICK HERE.
The complete results of the MIAA Preseason Poll are listed below.
|Team||Points (First-Place Votes)|