Softball Finishes Fifth in UMAC Preseason Poll
ST. PAUL - The Martin Luther College softball team was picked to finish fifth in the UMAC in the preseason poll released by the conference Thursday afternoon.
The Knights are hoping to build off last season’s 21-15 record and third place finish in the hopes for returning to the UMAC Postseason Tournament in 2014. The 21 wins were a program record, while the third place finish was the best finish in the conference since the 2005 season.
Andrea Biedenbender returns behind the plate to lead a line-up that features six returning starters. Biedenbender was named First Team All-UMAC after hitting .453 with a .528 on-base percentage and 14 extra base hits. 2013 All-Defense team member MacCartney Mendolla and first baseman Morgan Kumbier return to lead the infield, but the Knights must replace a pair of four-year starters on the left side of the infield in Amanda Fogle and Amber Krause. Mendolla could move over to shortstop after playing second base the last several seasons, while Caitlin Seastrand, Kelli Doell and Emily Wessel figure into the mix at the other spots. The outfield returns starters Maggie Schultz and Emily Waldek, while Kate Wierzbicki, Sarah Couture and Sara Willems could all receive playing time there as well.
On the mound, MLC returns sophomore Kathryn Marquardt, who set a new single-season record for the Knights with ten wins in 2013 as a freshman. Marquardt pitched a team-best 122.2 innings last season with an ERA of 5.65, but the Knights will need to replace the 86.1 innings produced by departed senior Laura Miller. Waldek could see more action on the mound this season after working 20.1 innings there a in 2013, while Doell also figures to be in the mix.
MLC finished with 24 points in the poll, four behind fourth-place Northwestern. St. Scholastica, Bethany Lutheran and Minnesota-Morris were the top three finishers in the poll.