Softball picked sixth in River States Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Karina Graziani -

RSC Softball Poll 2020 GraphicGraphic courtesy of RSC Sports Information; photo by Robert Cifone 2019

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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio --- Carlow University softball earned sixth place in the 2020 River States Conference Softball Preseason Poll, the league announced earlier this month.

Carlow, who went 20-22, 8-10 RSC, made it to the conference tournament last season but suffered an early exit after two losses. The Celtics continued on to the USCAA Small College World Series, where they made it to the final eight teams before facing elimination.

Despite losing All-RSC First Team pitcher Abby Stroud (New Egypt, N.J.), outfielder Sophia Papageorge (Beaver Falls, Pa.) and slugger Tristan Voss (Enon Valley, Pa.) - who led the team with five home runs last season - the Celtics return several starters and a number of new faces who will make an immediate impact on the field.

Head Coach Glenn Zinsmeister, heading into his second season as head coach and seventh year with the team, brought in a talented group of freshmen this year.

Some notable recruits are Madison and McKenna Lampe (Rutan, Pa.), who led West Greene High School to a WPIAL Class A title three years in a row and were PIAA State Champions two years (2017, 2018).
Morgan Nedley (Harrison City, Pa.) earned First Team All-Section two years and led Penn Trafford to its first PIAA State Championship in  2019.

"We have a talented group of freshmen who performed well in a small fall ball sample that we hope will be replicated during the season," said Zinsmeister.

Carlow returns one senior captain Ashley Hoak (Elizabeth, Pa.);All-RSC First Team infielder Annamarie Osiecki (JR/Erie, Pa.); sophomore leftfielder Ciara Murray (LaSalle, Ontario), who hit .279 in 39 games last season; junior Alysa Fairman (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who had 12 RBIs and pitched successfully in the fall; and juniors Kasey Wolford (Lower Burrell, Pa.), Olivia Graff (Natrona Heights, Pa.) and Adrianna Gottheld (Charleroi, Pa.) who all provided solid defense last year.

Voting for the RSC Preseason Poll was conducted by the nine RSC softball head coaches with the RedStorm leading in overall votes and first-place votes.

Rio Grande, which ended last year ranked No. 23 in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, received 60 total votes and five of the nine first-place votes in the RSC poll. The RedStorm was 36-16 overall, 17-1 RSC last year and reached the finals of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round, one game shy of the NAIA Softball World Series. Rio Grande won the RSC Regular Season championship in 2019 with only one loss in 18 games.

Point Park (Pa.) University was picked second in the RSC preseason poll with 57 total votes and three first-place votes. The Pioneers were 22-18, 12-6 RSC last year and made it to the final three teams of the RSC Softball Championship.

IU Southeast was predicted third in the preseason poll with 53 votes and the final first-place vote. The Grenadiers won the 2019 RSC Softball Championship with its run to the title featuring two wins over Rio Grande. IU Southeast, 33-24 overall, 13-5 RSC last year, made it to the final day of the NAIA Opening Round.

The Celtics open their season with spring training at the PFX Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. March 7-14.
 
"There is a lot of parity in the RSC with many games being decided by only a few runs," said Zinsmeister. "We have a strong group returning coupled with an exciting group of freshmen and are looking forward to getting on the diamond in early March to begin our 2020 journey to the RSC tournament, regionals and/or the USCAA Small College World Series."

Links to live coverage can be found on the team's schedule page at https://bit.ly/CUSB20.
Follow the Celtics on social media @CarlowCeltics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and "like" and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch preseason interviews and Celtics Spotlight videos.

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