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March 11, 2010

2010 Season - Softball jumps to eighth in NCAA Division III poll

From unranked to eighth in the nation. That is the story for the 2010 Augustana softball team under the direction of veteran head coach Kris Kistler. The Vikings entered the 2010 campaign with little fanfare and have been picked for fourth in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. Now, after one week of competition, Kistler’s bunch finds itself ranked eighth in NCAA Division III according to the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, which was released on Wednesday, March 10.

A successful spring trip to Clermont, Florida was the impetus for the Vikings’ rise in the rankings. Augustana went 7-2 last week and included in those seven victories were wins over a pair of teams ranked in the top 25. The Vikings defeated Alma by a score of 11-2 on February 28 and then defeated Ohio Northern 2-1 on March 4. Alma is currently ranked 23 rd and Ohio Northern is seventh although the Polar Bears were second at the time that the two teams played one another. One of the Vikings two losses came at the hands of 12 th ranked Capital by a score of 12-9 on March 3.

Augustana will certainly get a chance to see how accurate the rankings are in the next week. The Vikings will head to St. Louis, Missouri on March 20-21 to participate in the Washington University Tournament. They will face fifth ranked Washington in the first game on March 20 at 11:00 a.m. and then will play 20 th rated Central of Iowa on March 21 at 3:00 p.m. The other two games in the tournament will be against Buena Vista on March 20 at 3:00 p.m. and Fontbonne on March 21 at 5:00 p.m.

The Augustana offense has been firing on all cylinders early in the season. The Vikings are batting .368 as a team with a slugging percentage of .568 and an on-base percentage of .450. They’ve been solid up and down the order, with nine players having scored between six and eight runs.

Individually, Stephanie Sarb (Lisle HS, Lisle, Ill.), a junior, has gotten off to a tremendous start. She’s hitting .379 and leads the team with four home runs and 14 runs batted in. Her 26 total bases and .897 slugging percentage lead the team as well and she’s tied for the team lead in runs scored (8), doubles (3) and stolen bases (2). Senior Missy Fobert (Rock Island Alleman HS, Rock Island, Ill.) leads the team with a .529 batting average and her slugging (.824) and on-base (.571) percentages rank second. Nelson has also put up gaudy numbers, hitting .467 and slugging .800 with three doubles, two triples, one homer and nine RBI.

In the pitcher’s circle, junior Kelli Humbert (Dwight HS, Dwight, Ill.) and junior Sheldon Ritzheimer (Trenton Wesclin HS, Trenton, Ill.) have led the way. In four appearances, all in relief, Humbert has allowed just two hits and one unearned run in nine innings. Opponents are hitting .069 against her and she’s combined on a pair of shutouts. Ritzheimer has gone 2-0 in three starts with an ERA of 1.50. She leads the team with 11 strikeouts and has limited opponents to a .212 batting average. Gill is 2-1 to tie Ritzheimer for the team lead in wins. Ritzheimer was named the CCIW’s “Pitcher of the Week” on March 9.

2010 NCAA DIVISION III SOFTBALL POLL

As of 03/10/10 and compiled by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association

RANK

TEAM

RECORD

PTS

PREVIOUS WEEK

1

Messiah

3-0

194

1

2

Texas-Tyler

6-0

182

5

3

Louisiana College

10-0

177

14

4

East Texas Baptist

6-0

175

2

5

Washington

6-0

156

6

6

SUNY-Cortland

0-0

151

4

7

Ohio Northern

6-1

148

2

8

AUGUSTANA

7-2

142

NR

9

Gustavus Adolphus

3-1

140

10

10

Mississippi College

10-0

133

NR

11

Wisconsin-Whitewater

0-0

110

7

12

Capital

9-0

108

NR

13

Luther

4-0

88

NR

14

Coast Guard

1-1

92

9

15

Linfield

6-0

89

16

16

Christopher Newport

8-2

74

11

17

Illinois Wesleyan

0-0

58

12

18

Salisbury

7-2

57

21

19

William Paterson

0-0

54

15

20

Central of Iowa

2-1

47

20

21

Rhode Island College

0-0

48

17

22

Coe

4-2

28

8

23

Alma

8-2

21

NR

24

DePauw

3-1

19

13

25

Hardin-Simmons

7-2

17

NR

 

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Wisconsin-Eau Claire (12); St. Thomas (9); Tufts (7); Moravian (3).

DROPPED OUT OF RANKINGS: No. 18 – Emerson; No. 19 – Wisconsin-Eau Claire; No. 21 – Tufts; No. 24 – Rowan; No. 25 – Lycoming.