GREENWOOD, IND. -- The Defiance College softball team was picked to finish seventh in the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. [2017 HCAC Preseason Poll]
The Yellow Jackets had 30 points to rank seventh of nine teams. Transylvania (Ky.) University was picked as the favorite with 75 points and four first-place votes. Anderson (Ind.) University was second with 73 points and three first-place votes. Hanover (Ind.) College rounded out the top three with 57 points and received two first-place votes.
Last season, DC finished with an 18-20 overall record and were sixth in the conference with a 7-9 mark.
Defiance will have a balanced roster with a mix of experience and youth. The Jackets return 11 upperclassmen, including five seniors in Kayla Clute (Onsted, Mich./Onsted), Emily Denhard (Troy, Mich./Kolbe Academy), Megan Warren (Mason), Marisa Guyton (Powell/Worthington Kilbourne) and Jill Schneider (Botkins).
The Jackets will also return one All-HCAC player from last season in sophomore Jordan Osborne (Delaware/Rutherford B. Hayes).
In addition, DC had five players selected to the 2017 HCAC "Players to Watch" List that included Warren, Denhard and Osborne. Joining the trio were juniors Sarah Kaya (Lorain/Clearview) and Kaity Kuhn (Celina).
The softball team will begin the 2017 season with its annual training trip to Kissimmee, Fla. and the Rebel Spring Games. Defiance will begin play on Sunday, Mar. 5 with matchups against Montclair State (N.J.) University and Penn State-Altoona. The Jackets are scheduled to play their first home game on Wednesday, Mar. 15 with a doubleheader against Heidelberg University at Sal Hench Field.