COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Dominican's softball team was one of four teams to receive first place votes and was picked to finish fourth in the 2018 Great Midwest Softball Preseason Coaches Poll presented by Under Armour, the conference announced Monday.
Ohio Dominican received 112 points in the voting to come in at fourth, while also receiving a first place vote. Kentucky Wesleyan was picked first in the poll, accruing 135 points and six first place votes. Cedarville was tabbed second with 130 points and five first place votes, while Hillsdale came in at third with 115 points and also had one first place vote.
ODU is coming off its most successful season since 2014, finishing 27-22 during the 2017 campaign that culminated with a fourth place finish in the GLIAC regular season standings and a trip to the conference tournament.
Seniors Taylor Kline (Bellville, Ohio) and Liz Sutter (Mansfield, Ohio) return to anchor the middle infield for the Panthers in their first season of competition in the Great Midwest. Kline boasts a .432 batting average for her career and has 106 stolen bases through three seasons. Kline has notched 218 hits as a Panther and 129 runs. She was named to the NFCA Midwest Region First Team last season and was also a first team All-GLIAC performer. Sutter notched a career-high batting average in 2017 at .324 while also stealing seven bases. She boasts a career fielding percentage of .957.
The Panthers also return a bevy of experience in the circle, with senior Bailey Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio), junior Abby Lamping (Cleves, Ohio) and sophomore Cameron Barber (Powell, Ohio) all returning after combining for 43 starts last season. Lamping boasted a 2.40 ERA in 166 innings pitched last season and led the Panthers with 12 victories. Miller recorded six wins in three complete games, while Barber notched 25 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched with a 3.21 ERA.
Junior Kelly Mix (Baltimore, Ohio) and sophomore Landry Slider (Stow, Ohio) will also look to build off strong performances in 2017. Mix was second on the squad in RBIs last year with 23 and returns with the fourth-highest batting average on the team, posting a .277 last season. Slider notched 10 RBIs in her freshman season while appearing in 46 games.
To begin the season, Ohio Dominican will travel to Huntsville, Alabama for the Charger Chillout 2.0. The Panthers will also compete at the Music City Invitational and Midwest Region Crossover in February before hosting Tiffin in the first home, doubleheader of the season on Wednesday, February 28 at Panther Field. ODU will enjoy 16 home contests in the month of April and is scheduled to play 51 regular season games in 2018.
2018 Great Midwest Softball Preseason Coaches Poll presented by Under Armour.
1. Kentucky Wesleyan 135 (6)
2. Cedarville 130 (5)
3. Hillsdale 115 (1)
4. Ohio Dominican 112 (1)
5. Trevecca 107
6. Davis & Elkins 84
8. Ursuline 56
9. Lake Erie 48
10. Malone 47
11. Walsh 45
12. Ohio Valley 27
13. Alderson Broaddus 24
Contact: Aaron McPherson