CLEVELAND, OHIO -- Miami and Ball State were picked as preseason favorites in the 2011 MAC Softball Preseason Coaches' Poll. The RedHawks were also picked to win the 2011 MAC softball tournament title.
Ball State, the reigning MAC Tournament Champions, amassed an overall record of 43-16 and 17-5 mark in Mid-American Conference play last season. The Cardinals are led by the return of four All-MAC players in senior outfielder Lisa Rozanski, senior shortstop Alicia Barkley, junior catcher Amanda Montalto and senior first baseman Kate Wilczynski. Rozanski was second on the team last season with a .349 hitting percentage while Montalato lead the team with eight home runs. Ball State opens the season against the Belmont Bruins on February 19 as part of the two-day Austin Peay Tournament.
Miami head coach Kelly Schoenly returns 11 letterwinners, seven of which were regular starters a year ago. Daniela Torres and Meghan Mawn are the leading returning hitters for Miami. Mawn led the team with a .372 average while earning First Team All-MAC honors as a junior last season. Torres had a breakout year at third base, hitting .352 with four home runs as a Second Team All-MAC selection a year ago. Also returning is starting pitcher Jessica Simpson, she is 43-28 with an impressive 1.94 ERA during her two-year RedHawk career so far. Miami opens the season Friday, February 18 against Delaware at the Central Florida Tournament.
In the West Division Central Michigan came in a close second followed by Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Toledo. While in the East Division Ohio was picked second followed by Kent State, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Akron.
The 2011 conference season begins Friday, April 1 and the 2011 MAC Softball Tournament will be held May 11-14 at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio.
West Division (number of first place votes)
1. Ball State (7)
2. Central Michigan (4)
3. Northern Illinois (1)
4. Western Michigan
5. Eastern Michigan
East Division (number of first place votes)
1. Miami (5)
2. Ohio (4)
3. Kent State (3)
4. Bowling Green
2011 MAC Tournament Winner - Miami (7)
(Also receiving votes Ball State (3), Ohio (1), Kent State (1))