Rio Grande softball jumps to No. 22 in NAIA coaches poll

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Rio Grande softball team jumped two positions to 22nd in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll released Tuesday night by the national office.

The RedStorm, who had been locked in at No. 24 since the pre-season coaches poll, tallied 162 points in the balloting by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.

Head coach Chris Hammond’s club has won 15 straight games and sports a 26-6 record, with doubleheaders this weekend against River States Conference foes Asbury University and Midway University next up on the schedule.

Oklahoma City is the No. 1-ranked team for the 10th straight time and was a unanimous No. 1 selection with 529 total points in the balloting. The Stars took a 36-0 record into Tuesday’s scheduled doubleheader against St. Gregory’s (Okla.).

Columbia (Mo.) jumps one spot to earn the No. 2 position. The Cougars earned 492 points.

Brenau (Ga.) is ranked third with 479 points, while Marian (Ind.) checks in at No. 4 with 475 points and Georgia Gwinnett is No. 5 with 467 points.

No. 18 Corban (Ore.) is the poll’s lone newcomer this week. The only team to fall out of the Top 25 was then-No. 23 Hope International (Calif.).

Overall, 17 of the 20 conference are represented in this edition of the poll. The Cascade Collegiate Conference and the Southern States Athletic Conference are tied for most schools represented with three each.

The third regular-season Top 25 will be announced Tuesday, April 18.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing