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On the road to Tucson, Dutch No. 4 in softball poll

Softball | March 12, 2014

PELLA—The Central College softball team, which is on the road to Arizona for its season-opening Tucson Invitational Games, improved its standing by breaking the tie for No. 4 in this week’s National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III rankings.

The Dutch were tied for No. 4 in last week’s poll with Cortland State (N.Y.), but received three more points in this week’s poll, while the Red Dragons lost seven points and are No. 5 despite opening their season with two wins.

Central opens the 2014 campaign Friday against Dickinson (Pa.) and Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) at Tucson, Ariz. The Dutch are scheduled to play 16 games spanning eight competition dates in the Grand Canyon State.

For the third straight poll, Central improved on its highest preseason ranking (No. 6) in more than 10 years. The Dutch were No. 7 in the final 2013 poll after finishing in a tie for seventh at the NCAA Division III national finals in Oshkosh, Wis. Central made its 25th NCAA playoff appearance last year,  capturing the eight-team NCAA Pella Regional title and advancing to its 13th national finals. The Dutch were 32-10 overall, including 12-2 in the Iowa Conference, en route to a share of their 11th league crown.

Defending champion Tufts (Mass.) remained the unanimous top pick without playing a game. Montclair State (N.J.) (2-0) and Salisbury (Md.) (10-0) are Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. East Texas Baptist (12-1), Luther (6-0), Virginia Wesleyan (12-0), Emory (Ga.) (20-0) and Texas-Tyler (14-1) completed the top 10. Coe (10-1), another traditional conference contender, is ranked No. 14.

NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll – 2014 Week 3
Rank   Team                             Record   Points    Previous
1           Tufts (8)                         0-0           200         1
2           Montclair State             2-0           192         2
3           Salisbury                       10-0         184         3
4           Central (Iowa)              0-0           171         4
5           Cortland State              2-0           161         5
6           East Texas Baptist      12-1         153         6
7           Luther                            6-0           148         7
8           Virginia Wesleyan       12-0         146         8
9           Emory                            20-0         142         9
10        Texas-Tyler                   14-1         127         10
11        Linfield                          10-0         111         13
12        Piedmont                      14-2         101         15
13        St. Thomas (Minn.)      3-1           99           12
14        Coe                                10-1         98           11
15        Lebanon Valley           7-0           96           17
16        Trine                               8-1           95           16
17        Washington (Mo.)        7-0           69           18
18        Carthage                       0-0           64           19
19        Augustana (Ill.)             8-2           54           14
20        Babson                          0-0           45           20
21        Christopher Newport  9-3           40           21
22        North Central (Ill.)        0-0           35           22
23        Kean                              4-0           26           24
24        Redlands                      10-6         18           23
25        Ithaca                             2-0           14           25

Others receiving votes:
Muhlenberg 6, Randolph-Macon 3, Illinois Wesleyan 1, Louisiana College 1.

Dropped out:
Anderson, Cal Lutheran, Capital, Washington (Md.), Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


Central College