DePauw tabbed as favorite to win SCAC Softball Championship

SUWANEE, Ga. – Based on voting by the head coaches of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), DePauw University is the clear team to beat in the race for the 2010 conference softball title.

The Tigers return three SCAC first team all-conference performers from a year ago including two time All-American Megan Soultz. Soultz led the league in innings pitched (230.0), appearances (38), strikeouts (164), complete games (32) and wins (28 – tied for second most in Division III). In her first three seasons in the league, Soultz has already set the SCAC career wins mark at 83, and is also first all-time in strikeouts with 582. Last season, Soultz posted an ERA of 1.40 (fourth in the SCAC) and held opponents to just a.203 batting average (third in the SCAC).

DePauw, which won last year’s SCAC softball championship, posted a perfect 14-0 record in conference play en route to a 32-9 overall record – the third most wins in a single season in SCAC history. Over the past four seasons, DePauw has produced the four single greatest seasons in terms of wins (40, 37, 32 and 31) in league history.

The DU Tigers garnered nine coaches’ votes, while Southwestern University received the remaining first place vote.

As for the division races, DePauw is picked to lead the way with three of five first place votes. Birmingham-Southern College was tabbed to finish second receiving the other two first place votes in the division. Rhodes College, who returns two SCAC first team all-conference performers from a year ago, is picked to finish third. Centre College was selected fourth while Sewanee-University of the South was predicted to finish fifth.

Second-year program Southwestern is the pick to win the Western Division and received four out of five first place votes. Millsaps College received the remaining first place vote and was picked to finish in a tie for second with Hendrix College. The Warriors return three all-conference performers from a year ago. Trinity University was selected fourth while Austin College was predicted to finish fifth.

At the 2009 SCAC Softball Championships held at Trinity University, DePauw won three straight games to win its second straight conference softball title, capped by an 8-0 victory over Rhodes in the championship game. As the league’s automatic qualifier, DePauw was selected to host the NCAA first-round competition. The Tigers fell to Ohio Northern 4-1 in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship first-round title game.

The league will see more change in the 2010 season. Due to Colorado College dropping its softball program a year ago, Millsaps will return to the Western Division – after a year of competition in the Eastern Division – to balance the divisions at five a side. Games against Birmingham-Southern, which enters its second year of softball competition in the SCAC, will count this season towards conference standings. The Panthers, however, will not be eligible for the conference championship as they continue to transition from Division I to Division III.

To view the entire 2010 SCAC Softball predicted order of finish, click here.