Rio softball finishes 26th in final NAIA coaches’ poll


By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Rio Grande softball team finished 26th in the final NAIA coaches’ poll of the 2018 season.

The RedStorm, who dropped two positions from the final regular season coaches’ poll, collected 64 points in the balloting by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.

Third-year head coach Chris Hammond’s squad finished 35-13 overall after going 0-2 in the Opening Round of the NAIA National Tournament.

Rio Grande won both the River States Conference regular season and tournament championships to reach the national tourney for a third straight year.

The RedStorm were the only RSC program to receive votes in the poll.

National champion Science & Arts (Okla.) finished as the top-ranked team, moving up four positions after receiving all 18 first place votes and 498 total points in the balloting. The Drovers finished with a 57-5 record.

National runner-up Columbia (Mo.) had 477 points and claimed the No. 2 postseason ranking, while Southern Oregon, Oklahoma City and Georgia Gwinnett rounded out the top five.

Columbia made the biggest jump in the balloting and was the only newcomer to the list, moving up 26 spots from the final regular season poll.

Campbellsville (Ky.) and Jamestown (N.D.) had the biggest slides, with the Tigers falling from fourth to 11th and the Jimmies dropping from 11th to 18th.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

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

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