The EMU softball team has been picked eighth in the ODAC Preseason Poll. The Royals received 38 points as voted on by the coaches behind conference newcomer Ferrum and ahead of Bridgewater in the field of 11 schools. Reigning back-to-back national champions Virginia Wesleyan were picked to win the conference for the fourth year in a row.
Returning for EMU is All-ODAC Third Team member Kelsi Martin (Buena Vista, Va./Parry McCluer) who had an 11-6 record and ERA of 2.29 in 24 appearances in the circle. She also batted .318 with 13 RBI and seven extra base hits.
The Royals will look to replace the production of All-ODAC performers Sydney Reath (Williamsburg, Va./Mercersburg Academy) and Tiffani Shaheen (Fluvanna, Va./Fluvanna County) who each had an offseason injury that could lead them to miss the entire season. Reath is a .341 career hitter and holds the EMU record with 42 career doubles. Shaheen is a .377 career batter with 64 runs and 36 stolen bases in her two healthy seasons.
The Royals finished 2018 with a record of 21-19 and 7-11 in conference play falling to Virginia Wesleyan in the semifinals of the ODAC Tournament.
EMU opens the 2019 season in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic on March 2. The women will play 10 games on the trip during the first week of March before returning home Saturday, March 9 for their home opener against Messiah.
The ODAC tournament will be held the weekend of April 26-28 at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va., in an eight team double-elimination tournament.
For more information on ODAC softball, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.
2019 ODAC SOFTBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
1. Virginia Wesleyan University (10) - 100 pts.
2. Randolph-Macon College (1) - 90 pts.
3. Emory & Henry College - 78 pts.
4. University of Lynchburg - 77 pts.
5. Guilford College - 58 pts.
6. Roanoke College - 56 pts.
7. Ferrum College - 42 pts.
8. Eastern Mennonite University - 38 pts.
9. Bridgewater College - 27 pts.
10. Randolph College - 23 pts.
11. Shenandoah University - 16 pts.