BAY CITY, Mich. — Ohio Dominican's softball team was picked to finish ninth in the GLIAC in preseason poll voting conducted by the league's head coaches, the conference announced on Tuesday.
The Panthers accrued 40 total points to rank ninth in the voting, finishing ahead of Walsh (38), Northwood (31) and Lake Erie (11).
ODU concluded the 2016 season by winning eight of its final 10 GLIAC contests, and wrapped up the season with a 25-27 (12-14 GLIAC) record and ninth place finish in the conference overall. Ohio Dominican ranked second in the GLIAC in stolen bases last season with 69, and ended the year with the fifth-most hits in the conference at 375.
The Panthers return Third-Team All-American, junior Taylor Kline (Bellville, Ohio), who led the GLIAC in stolen bases and ranked 15th in the nation after swiping 41 bags last season. Kline also ranked second in the conference in batting average (.446), on base percentage (.489) and runs (43). Kline was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA)/Schutt Sports Division II National Player of the Year watch list for the second-straight year this preseason.
ODU returns key experience in the circle, with the squad's top three pitchers from last year all returning. Sophomore Abby Lamping (Cleves, Ohio) led the Panthers in wins (12), ERA (2.31) and innings pitched (154.2) in 2016. She is joined by junior Bailey Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio), who pitched 102.0 innings last season and led the team in strikeouts with 59. Senior Casey Murdoch (Morrow, Ohio) returns after making 18 appearances and five starts in 2016, recording 54 strikeouts, finishing with a 3.67 ERA while also hitting for a .284 average with two home runs. In addition to the returning pitchers for the Panthers, freshmen Taylor Farmer (Mt. Blanchard, Ohio) and Cameron Barber (Powell, Ohio) will also add depth in the circle for ODU.
Junior Liz Sutter (Mansfield, Ohio) returns to anchor the Panther outfield after posting a .262 batting average a season ago, along with 95 put outs.
Overall, the Panthers boast seven freshmen on the year's squad, also returning three sophomores, four juniors and two seniors.
Ohio Dominican will begin the 2017 season when it travels to Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, February 17 to compete in the Music City Invitational and take on Indianapolis and Montevallo in its first two contests. The Panthers will host their first home games of the season at Panther field on Saturday, March 25 when they take on Ferris State in a GLIAC doubleheader.
Head Coach Marcella Vanlandingham Interview
Contact: Aaron McPherson