MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande has been picked second in the 2021 River States Conference Softball Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
The poll, which was conducted through voting by each of the league’s 10 head coaches, was released by league officials over the Christmas holiday break.
The RedStorm collected three first-place votes and 75 points in the balloting.
Indiana University Southeast topped the list with the remaining seven first-place nods and 79 total points.
Rio Grande got off to a 12-12 start in the spring of 2020 before the season was cut short by COVID-19.
Head coach Chris Hammond’s RedStorm, whose shortened 2020 schedule included 11 games versus NAIA nationally-ranked opponents, had won four straight conference postseason championships from 2015-18 before IU Southeast ended that streak in 2019.
IU Southeast has all nine starters and its top two starting pitchers returning from a squad that started out last year at 19-2-1 overall before the season ended prematurely.
The Grenadiers were among the programs “receiving votes” in the NAIA Top 25 before the 2020 campaign was cut short in the second week of March. RSC play had not begun at the time the pandemic hit.
Point Park (Pa.) University was picked third in the poll with 58 points, which was right in front of Midway (Ky.) University, who placed fourth with 57 points. West Virginia University-Tech was fifth with 43 points.
RSC newcomer Oakland City (Ind.) University was sixth with 35 points and was followed close behind by Asbury (Ky.) University in seventh with 33 points.
Rounding out the poll were Carlow (Pa.) University in eighth with 29 points, Brescia (Ky.) University in ninth with 22 points and Ohio Christian University in 10th with 19 points.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.