INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Transylvania University softball team has been selected as the favorite to win the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference softball title in a vote of the nine league coaches. The Pioneers claimed 81 total points and seven first-place votes in the coaches preseason poll.
Mount St. Joseph University placed second in the poll with 74 total points (two first place votes) and Franklin College finished third in the poll with 66 total points. Defiance College (52), Hanover College (52), Manchester University (52), Anderson University (50), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (32), and Bluffton University (27) rounded out the poll.
Transylvania will be looking to claim the school's ninth conference title this spring. The Pioneers went 34-9 overall and 14-2 in conference play last season. Transylvania ended its season in the NCAA Regionals to Illinois Wesleyan.
The Pioneers return three All-HCAC selections from the 2018 season. Senior infielder Brittany Mumford hit .394 with 40 runs and 12 stolen bases last season. Transy also returns senior Meg Liter and junior Janelle Hynes to the lineup this season. Liter and Hynes tallied a .325 and .300 batting average, respectively, while both contributed 22 runs to the Pio offense last season.
Mount St. Joseph finished in a tie for second in the league standings last season with an 11-5 record. The Lions were 23-13 overall and ended their season with a loss to Franklin in the conference tournament. Mount St. Joseph returns one first-team All-HCAC member and the reigning HCAC Freshman of the Year to the lineup this spring. Pitcher Sarah Miller struck out 108 batters in 136.0 innings of work with a 2.57 earned run average last season for the Lions.
Franklin College finished in a tie for second in the 2018 conference race with an 11-5 league record and posted an overall record of 30-12. The Grizzlies finished their season with a loss to Hope in the NCAA Regionals. Franklin returns two first-team All-HCAC selections to their lineup from last season's squad. Returning for the Grizzlies is senior outfielder Justice Carmichael and sophomore outfielder Lexi Gaffney. Carmichael contributed a .341 batting average and 33 runs for the Grizzlies, while Gaffney tallied 27 runs with a .388 batting average and added 20 stolen bases last year.
The 2019 softball season opens on February 23. The HCAC portion of the schedule will begin on March 29 with the HCAC Tournament slated for May 2-4.
2019 Softball Players to Watch
|Anderson||Hadley Decker||Jr.||P||New Haven, Ind.|
|DJ Martz||Jr.||C||Leesburg, Ind.|
|Brooke Walden||So.||INF||Wilkinson, Ind.|
|Bluffton||Courtney Jasinski||Jr.||OF||Englewood, Ohio|
|Caylin Morstadt||Jr.||Util.||Delaware, Ohio|
|Kelsey Reeder||Sr.||2B||Galion, Ohio|
|Casey Clark||Sr.||C||Lima, Ohio|
|Defiance||Emma Perry||So.||C||Bowling Green, Ohio|
|Brooke Gostomsky||Jr.||3B/P||Covington, Ohio|
|Michaela Bauer||Sr.||1B||Hicksville, Ohio|
|Jackie Hartman||Sr.||SS||Parma, Ohio|
|Kalin Hubble||Fr.||INF||Anderson, Ind.|
|Franklin||Kayla Selzer||Jr.||P||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Natalie Weber||So.||C||Shelbyville, Ind.|
|Shelby Mager||Sr.||2B||Fishers, Ind.|
|Monica Collins||Sr.||OF||Whiteland, Ind.|
|Justice Carmichael||Sr.||OF||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Hanover||Lily Beurman||So.||P||Evansville, Ind.|
|Mackenzie Smith||So.||P||Jeffersonville, Ind.|
|Shelby Edington||Jr.||SS||New Goshen, Ind.|
|Manchester||Kate Skeens||Sr.||3B||Gas City, Ind.|
|Sydney Thompson||Sr.||Util.||Logansport, Ind.|
|Mandi Boggs||Sr.||SS||Frankfort, Ind.|
|Haley Perez||So.||P||Portage, Ind.|
|Mount St. Joseph||Sarah Miller||So.||P/1B||Fishers, Ind.|
|Alehia Tucker||So.||SS||Covington, Ky.|
|Savannah Sturgill||Sr.||C||West Harrison, Ind.|
|Katie Tarter||Sr.||2B||Fairfield, Ohio|
|Brandy Bunch||Sr.||1B/3B||Mason, Ohio|
|Rose-Hulman||Emily Struble||So.||SS/P||Carrollton, Ill.|
|Madison Struble||Sr.||C/1B||Carrollton, Ill.|
|Transylvania||Jessica Powell||Sr.||C/DP||Louisville, Ky.|
|Brittany Mumford||Sr.||SS||Louisville, Ky.|
|Shelby Gambrell||Sr.||OF/INF||Owenton, Ky.|
|Meg Liter||Sr.||1B/3B||Batesville, Ind.|
|Janelle Hynes||Jr.||C||Shelbyville, Ky.|