LOUISVILLE, KY. – The Trine softball team is ranked sixth in the first National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top 25 softball rankings of the season. They move up two spots from eighth, where they finished in the final rankings of the 2017 season.
The Thunder garnered 159 points to take the sixth spot on the list. Defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan was the consensus number one team with 200 points and all of the first place votes, while St. John Fisher came in second with 192 points. For the complete first rankings visit the NFCA webpage.
Last season Trine received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament after finishing second in the MIAA tournament. In the playoffs, the Thunder went on to win their third Regional title and their second Super Regional title on their way to the team's second appearance in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship.
They ultimately finished the season in seventh place in the country and ranked eighth in the NFCA poll. Their 37-10 overall record gave them the fifth-most wins in program history.
Trine led the country with 1.26 home runs per game, one of only four teams to have averaged over one per game. The team finished with 59 home runs and the 12th best slugging percentage in the nation (.506). Of the nine Thunder players who homered last year, seven return to the team this season.
Trine's top power hitter Kaylee Fox (Vermillion, Ohio / Edison) returns for her senior season after leading the MIAA in both runs batted in with 48 and home runs with 16. Her home run tally was also second most in the country.
Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) returns for her sophomore campaign this season after finishing with 11 bombs last year, good enough to be 17th in the nation. Michaela Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) also returns after finishing last year with six round-trippers.
On the mound, the Thunder return all three of their pitchers that finished the season with a 2.77 team ERA. Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) returns for her sophomore season after leading the team with 18 wins and a 2.06 ERA. She led the MIAA with 6 saves and came in second in wins.
Classmate Hannah Kampmann (St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin Derham Hall) was second on the team in both categories with 14 wins and a 2.93 ERA. Junior Kate Saupe (Farwell, Mich. / Farwell) will look to improve on her five wins from last year.
The Thunder open their 2018 season by attending the NFCA Leadoff Classic, where they will faceoff with some of the top teams in the country. Highlighting the classic will be a contest against second-ranked St. John Fisher on Saturday, March 3.
The classic takes place in Tucson, Ariz. and Trine will begin competition with a pair of games on March 2. At 10 a.m. MST they will take on number 22 ranked Central College (Iowa) and then at 12:30 p.m. MST they finish off the day by facing off with number 25 Babson College.