NWC Preseason Poll: Coaches tab Pirates for title repeat in 2018

NWC Preseason Poll: Coaches tab Pirates for title repeat in 2018

Rk.

Team (1st)

Pts.

’17 Rec. (NWC)

1.

Whitworth (4)

47

37-11 (23-5)

2.

Linfield (3)

46

32-10 (21-7)

3.

George Fox (1)

40

20-17 (15-13)

4.

Pacific Lutheran

33

23-16 (16-12)

5.

Willamette

24

14-20 (12-16)

6.

Lewis & Clark

17

10-22 (10-18)

7.

Pacific (Ore.)

16

11-27 (9-19)

8.

Puget Sound

9

13-26 (6-22)

(Points awarded on an 8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.)

HILLSBORO, Ore. — After winning the Northwest Conference regular season and tournament titles last season, the Whitworth Pirates have been picked to reclaim the crown, according to a poll of the eight conference head coaches.

Three teams received at least one first place vote in the preseason poll.

The Pirates won the NWC regular season title for the third-straight season last year, before snapping a Linfield streak of four-straight tournament crowns. Whitworth advanced to the Marshall Regional Finals in the NCAA Tournament last season. The Pirates, who are set to return 2017 First Team All-NWC infielder Michelle Silva (Jr., Aloha, Ore.), received four first place votes and a total of 47 points in the coaches’ poll. The Pirates also return 2016 First Team honoree Chelsey Hayes (Jr., Puyallup, Wash.), after the infielder missed a season to focus on her studies.

Linfield was picked second with three first place votes and 46 total points. The Wildcats are set to return a trio of 2017 First Team All-NWC honorees in: catcher Emily Allen (Sr., Tigard, Ore.), outfielders Cheyenne Fletcher (Sr., Selah, Wash.) and Darian Stedman (Jr., Springfield, Ore.).

Picked third with one first place vote and 40 points, was George Fox. The Bruins will look to a pair of returning 2017 First Team All-NWC selections in pitcher Madison Sorensen (Sr., Woodland, Wash.) and infielder Annie Veatch (Sr., Hood River, Ore.) in the 2018 season.

The Pacific Lutheran Lutes were picked fourth with 33 total points. A trio of 2017 First Team All-NWC infielders are set to return to the Lutes’ lineup in Kathryn Hatlen (Jr., Woodinville, Wash.), Becca Sorenson (Jr., Lakewood, Wash.) and Anna Overland (Jr., Gig Harbor, Wash.).

Willamette was predicted to finish fifth with 24 points and returns 2017 Second Team All-NWC selection Jocelyn Glasgo (So., Rochester, Wash.).

Lewis & Clark was picked sixth with 17 points and will return Paige Salavea (Sr., Kaneohe, Hawaii) after an injury kept her off the diamond in 2017. Salavea was a Third Team All-Region honoree and First Team All-NWC selection in 2016. 

Pacific (Ore.) was tabbed to finish seventh with 16 points, while the Puget Sound Loggers round out the poll in eighth with nine points.

Whitworth will get the softball season underway for the Northwest Conference on January 26, with a double header at Chapman.

Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound head to southern California on February 3, as the Lutes visit Cal Lutheran and the Loggers meet Occidental. George Fox and Lewis & Clark open on February 9 with the Bruins playing two at Redlands and the Pioneers traveling to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for a single game.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will play host to Linfield on February 16, in what will be the Wildcats’ season opener. Willamette opens the season on February 17 at the College of Idaho, while the Pacific Boxers open the year at home on February 18 against Northwest (Wash.).