Softball Tabbed Second in Horizon League Preseason Poll

Softball Tabbed Second in Horizon League Preseason Poll

Indianapolis, Ind. -- The Youngstown State softball team has been predicted to finish second in the Horizon League after a vote of the league's head coaches, the league announced on Wednesday.

UIC was picked to win the 2019 Horizon League regular-season championship with all nine first-place votes and 81 total points followed by the Penguins with 69 points. 

Youngstown State finished third in the league last season with a 14-10 record and has 12 letterwinners and nine starters returning from last year.

The Penguins also return a quartet of All-Horizon League performers and a senior pitcher that ranks in the top 10 in three career statistical categories.
 
Senior Lexi Zappitelli was named All-Horizon League First-Team after a break out season in 2018. She batted .413 with 30 runs scored, 22 RBIs, 13 doubles, three triples and two home runs and was just the eighth player in school history to bat above .400. Senior Paige Geanangel ranks sixth all-time with 34 wins and ninth with 178 strikeouts. She needs six more wins to become just the fourth pitcher in school history with at least 40 career victories.
 
Junior Maddi Lusk and sophomores Elle Buffenbarger and Yazmine Romero were all named to the All-Horizon League Second-Team. Lusk, a two-time all-league selection, batted .315 with 23 runs scored, 14 doubles, a triple, four home runs and a team-high 35 runs batted in.
 
Both Buffenbarger and Romero were named to the all-freshman team as well. Buffenbarger finished with a 10-7 record and ranked third in the league with 132 strikeouts. Romero batted .393 and ranked second in the Horizon League with 66 hits, which also ranked sixth on the YSU single-season chart.
 
Checking in at third place in the poll is last year's tournament runner-up Oakland (63 points). The Golden Grizzlies finished second in the standings in 2018 (13-8) and return Freshman of the Year and First Team honoree Madison Jones, Second Team member Kelsie Swanson, and All-Freshman choice Jessie Munson this season.

In fourth position in the poll is Wright State (44 points). The Raiders were 12-10 in league play in 2018 and return All-Freshman Team member Madison Whitaker. Northern Kentucky (40 points) and IUPUI (39 points) were chosen fifth and sixth respectively in the poll. Rounding out the 2019 Preseason Poll are Detroit Mercy (36 points), Green Bay (22 points), and Cleveland State (11 points).   

The 2019 Horizon League Softball Championships will take place on May 8-11 at the site of the highest-seed that meets facility hosting criteria and will feature the top six teams in the standings.

2019 Horizon League Softball Preseason Poll

Pl.       Team - Points (First-Place Votes)

1.         UIC – 81 (9)

2.         Youngstown State – 69

3.         Oakland – 63

4.         Wright State – 44

5.         Northern Kentucky – 40

6.         IUPUI – 39

7.         Detroit Mercy – 36

8.         Green Bay – 22

9.         Cleveland State – 11