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2018 MASCAC Softball Preseason Poll

2018 MASCAC Softball Preseason Poll

Framingham State Selected to Win 2018 MASCAC Softball Championship

Reigning MASCAC Regular Season and Tournament Champions Framingham State have been selected to win the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Softball Championship as voted on by the eight coaches from around the conference.

The Rams collected seven first place votes for 49 points. They were 12-2 during conference action last season. Returning for the team is reigning MASCAC Pitcher of the Year Kelsi Gunarathne and MASCAC Rookie of the Year Mycala Moody. Gunarathne led the conference in ERA (1.56), wins (17), strikeouts (144), complete games (21) and shutouts (7). Moody batted .348 with 39 hits, including two doubles and two triples plus 12 RBI and 10 stolen bases in her first season.

Sitting in the second spot with the final first place vote is Westfield State with 39 points. The Owls were 11-3 during MASCAC play last season. Maddy Atkocaitis is back for the team after leading the conference in home runs (7) and RBI (38) and second in triples (4) and slugging percentage (.614). She batted .298 with a .374 on-base percentage, seven doubles and drew 14 walks.

Worcester State is in third with 35 points. The Lancers were 9-5 during the league campaign in 2017. All-Conference honoree Sydney Despres returns for her senior season. She was first in the league in on-base percentage (.526), slugging percentage (.743), walks (23) and home runs (7). Her batting average (.410) was second-best in the conference with 28 RBI and three stolen bases.

Tying for fourth is Bridgewater State and Salem State with 28 points. The Bears were 7-7 last season. Kacie Carvalho is back after batting .386 with 44 hits, on-base percentage of .426 and slugging percentage of .412 with eight RBI, six stolen bases and eight walks on her way to All-Conference honors. For the Vikings, they were 9-5 last season. All-Conference honoree Jen Crovo returns this season. She was first in the conference in stolen bases (28), second in hits (53), triples (4) and (38) plus third in slugging percentage (.559) and fourth in batting average (.390).

Landing in sixth is Fitchburg State with 25 points. The Falcons had six wins in league action last season. Damari Grossi is back after a season that saw her batting .319 with 29 hits, a .392 on-base percentage, .330 slugging percentage with 17 stolen bases on her way to Second Team All-Conference accolades.

Rounding out the 2018 poll in seventh and eighth are MCLA and Massachusetts Maritime with 12 and eight points, respectively. The Trailblazers won two games during MASCAC play last year. Katie Berghela earned All-Conference honors after batting .315 with 28 hits, including three doubles, a triple and 10 RBI. She also had seven stolen bases, .384 on-base percentage and .371 slugging percentage. For the Buccaneers, Kaylene Murphy is back. She batted .306 with 19 hits, 19 runs scored and 10 RBI. She also tallied six stolen bases and eight walks.

Bridgewater State starts the non-conference season with play down in Florida on Saturday, March 3. The other MASCAC teams kick off their season over the next few weeks.

The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, the nation's oldest Division III men's and women's playing conference, has a rich and storied tradition of competitive success while celebrating excellence in the classroom. MASCAC member schools include Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, MCLA, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Salem State University, Westfield State University and Worcester State University. Two other institutions, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Plymouth State University, are affiliate members of the conference in the sports of football and men's ice hockey, while Western Connecticut State University joined the conference as an affiliate member in football beginning in 2013.

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