OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha softball team was picked fifth in the 2019 Summit League Preseason Coaches Poll, the league office announced Thursday.
Defending league champion, North Dakota State, was tabbed the league favorite and received four first-place votes for 34 total points. South Dakota State came in second with 33 points and three first-place votes, and Western Illinois was third with 25 points. South Dakota garnered 19 votes for fourth, followed by Omaha in fifth with 14 points. North Dakota and Purdue Fort Wayne rounded out the poll in sixth and seventh place, respectively.
Senior catcher Natalie Mostek and junior pitcher Sydney Hampton were included on the Summit League’s Players to Watch list. Last season, Mostek started 48 of the 50 games she played in while posting a career-high .261 average with seven home runs, 21 runs scored and nine stolen bases. She was a member of the 2018 Summit League Academic Honor Roll and Commissioner’s List of Academic Excellence. Hampton appeared in 35 games making 25 starts as a freshman. She finished the season with an 11-13 record and posted a 3.74 ERA with 75 strikeouts.
Guided by first-year head coach Amanda Eberhart, the Mavericks return 12 letterwinners from the 2018 squad.
Omaha opens the 2019 campaign on Friday, Feb. 8, against Wisconsin and Texas Tech at The Scrap Yard Tournament in Houston, Texas.