The Fort Hays softball team was tabbed 12th in the MIAA preseason coaches poll released Wednesday. The Tigers finished 12th in the standings last year.
The Tigers are entering their fifth season under coach Adrian Pilkington. FHSU was 13-37 overall last year and went 8-18 in the MIAA.
Fort Hays won't have any seniors on the roster in 2018 but the Tigers have 15 juniors. Top returning hitters include sophomores Grace Philop, Sara Breckbill and Terran Caldwell. All three hit over .300 last year as freshmen.
Philop led the team in batting average at .333 last tear while Breckbill tied for the team lead in home runs with five. Breckbill was a first-team All-MIAA selection last year while Philop was honorable mention.
Bailey Boxberger had a team-high 27 runs driven in and tied Breckbill for the team lead in home runs with five. The Tigers return six players who were regular starters last year.
Hailey Chapman returns in the circle after leading the team in ERA at 4.52. Michaelanne Nelson joins the Tigers after earning all-region honors at the junior college level for Connors State.
Fort Hays opens the season with four games in Bentonville, Arkansas, Feb. 9-10. The Tigers will play their first home doubleheader March 5 against Kansas Wesleyan University.
Defending MIAA champion Washburn was picked first, garnering 11 first-place votes. The Ichabods were followed by Central Oklahoma, Central Missouri, Northwest Missouri and Missouri Western.
2019 MIAA Preseason Softball Coaches PollWashburn (11) - 162 points Central Oklahoma (2) - 151 points Central Missouri - 141 points Northwest Missouri - 133 points Missouri Western - 113 points Northeastern State - 111 points Lindenwood - 103 points Emporia State (1) - 93 points Pittsburg State - 65 points Missouri Southern - 58 points Nebraska Kearney - 57 points Fort Hays State - 46 points Southwest Baptist - 28 points Lincoln - 13 points