MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande is this year’s favorite in the 2019 River States Conference Softball Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
The poll, which was voted on by the league’s 10 softball head coaches, was released Thursday night by the league office.
Rio Grande was the unanimous favorite with all nine of the possible first-place votes, while tallying 81 points in the balloting.
The RedStorm have won four straight RSC Tournament titles and are coming off a season of 35-13 overall and 16-2 RSC in 2018.
Head coach Chris Hammond’s squad ended the 2018 season ranked No. 24 in the NAIA Top 25 after another trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
IU Southeast was picked second in the preseason poll with 70 total points and garnered the other first-place vote. The Grenadiers were 24-14 overall and 14-4 RSC last year for second place in the regular season.
Point Park (Pa.) University was chosen third in the poll with 60 points. The Pioneers, who were 17-22 overall and 11-7 RSC, made it to the final three teams of the conference tournament in 2018.
Cincinnati Christian University was picked fourth in the poll with 58 points. The Eagles were 25-20 overall and 9-9 in the RSC last year and made a run to the final four teams of the tournament.
WVU Tech came in fifth in the poll with 47 points. The Golden Bears were 24-27 and 10-8 in the RSC last season.
Midway (Ky.) University received 42 votes and was predicted sixth in the poll, which is the final playoff spot for this year. The Eagles were 23-22 overall and 11-7 in the RSC last year when they were RSC Tournament runner-up and an NAIA National Championship Opening Round qualifier.
Carlow (Pa.) University got 37 points for seventh place coming off a record of 19-17 overall and 8-10 RSC. Ohio Christian University (17-23) received 22 points for eighth place, Asbury (Ky.) University (14-20) received 18 points for ninth place, and Brescia (Ky.) University (6-22) was 10th with 15 points.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.