Softball Picked 5th in the KCAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Oklahoma Wesleyan softball was recently selected 5th in the KCAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll released on January 18th by the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Lady Eagles finished the 2017 season with a 28-27 overall record and went 13-9 in conference play. They return 2017 NAIA All-American and KCAC Player of the Year, Michaela Shouldis, who batted .469 last season with 54 stolen bases and 49 runs scored.

 

Courtesy of the KCAC.

WICHITA, Kan. – The Ottawa University softball team was selected as the No. 1 team in the KCAC Softball Coaches’ Poll, the conference office announced Thursday. The Braves were the 2017 KCAC regular season champions with an 18-4 conference record.

 

Ottawa went 3-2 in the conference tournament, defeating Bethany (8-1), McPherson (8-2), and Oklahoma Wesleyan (4-1), and losing to Tabor twice (1-8, 0-1). The Braves earned an automatic bid to the NAIA Softball Opening Round as the No. 4 seed in the Sioux City bracket, defeating Morningside, 1-0, and Reinhardt, 8-2, to earn a spot in the NAIA Softball World Series. Ottawa fell to Warner, 2-4, before Columbia ended its season with a 2-1 victory.

 

The Braves lose first team All-KCAC and second team NAIA All-American, Molli Morgan, who finished the season with a 1.75 ERA, pitching in 307.2 innings and striking out 185. Opponents had a .238 batting average against the senior. Morgan ranked second in the NAIA in total innings pitched (307.2). third in wins (33), 34th in innings pitched per game (5.8), and 47th in earned run average (1.75). Ottawa returns first team All-KCAC selection, Ellena Cott-Laurie, who was second on the team in batting average (0.370) last season, recording 68 hits, seven doubles, five home runs, and 42 RBIs.

 

Tabor was selected No. 2 and received two first place vote in the preseason poll. The Bluejays made it all the way to the KCAC Championship game, but fell to Kansas Wesleyan, 2-0, to end its season with a 33-19 overall record and 15-7 KCAC record. Madison Byrd returns on the mound for Tabor, following a strong freshman campaign. Byrd led the KCAC in ERA (1.61) and strikeouts (262), while ranking sixth nationally in saves (4), 11th in wins (24), and 16th in opponent batting average (0.189). The Long Beach, Calif. native earned first team All-KCAC honors for her performance last season.

 

Institution  Points First Place Votes
1. Ottawa University 125 8
2. Tabor College 116 2
3. Friends University 110 1
4. Kansas Wesleyan University 109
5. Oklahoma Wesleyan University  103 1
6. McPherson College 71
7. University of Saint Mary 62
8. Bethany College 57
9. Bethel College 44
10. Sterling College 34
11. York College 23
12. Southwestern College 16