Thunder Picked to Finish First in MIAA

Thunder Picked to Finish First in MIAA

FREELAND, MICH. – The Trine softball team has been picked to finish first in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) conference coaches poll, released today.

The Thunder received votes totaling 62 points including six of the nine first-place votes. The poll is voted on by the conference coaches, who cannot vote for their own team. Hope College was picked to finish second with 57 points including two first-place votes. Alma College rounded out the top three with 49 points including the final first-place vote.

Last season Trine finished fourth in the MIAA regulars season with an 11-5 conference record. They went on to finish second in the conference tournament losing in the championship game to Alma. Trine went on to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, where they 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 top the top teams in the country. 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 Central College (Iowa) and then at 12:30 p.m. MST they finish off the day by facing off with Babson College. Both teams were ranked in the final NFCA rankings of 2017.

2018 MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll

Place School (First-Place Votes) Points
1. Trine (6) 62
2. Hope (2) 57
3. Alma (1) 49
4. Saint Mary's 45
5. Calvin 36
6. Adrian 25
7. Olivet 21
8. Kalamazoo 17
9. Albion 12
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