NDSU Softball Tops Summit League Preseason Poll

Bison are the defending conference champions

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – (NDSU Athletics) North Dakota State University was selected as the Summit League preseason softball favorites in a poll of the league’s seven head coaches released on Thursday, Jan. 30.

NDSU received six of the seven first place votes for a total of 34 points. South Dakota was second with 28 points, and South Dakota State was third with 27 points and one first place vote. Rounding out the poll were North Dakota, Western Illinois, Purdue Fort Wayne and Omaha.

2020 Summit League Softball Coaches Preseason Poll

Place Team (2019 Record, SL) Points (1st)
1. North Dakota State (42-16, 16-2) 34 (6)
2. South Dakota  (37-18, 10-4) 28
3. South Dakota State (33-28, 12-6) 27 (1)
4. North Dakota (22-24, 7-11) 22
T5. Western Illinois (20-20, 12-6) 12
T5. Purdue Fort Wayne (10-39, 3-15) 12
7. Omaha (4-43, 2-16) 10

North Dakota State (42-16) claimed the program’s 10th Summit League tournament championship in 2019 and ninth regular season title.

The Bison return four all-Summit League selections including first team shortstop Montana DeCamp, designated player Cara Beatty, outfielder Madyson Camacho, and second team pitcher Paige Vargas, who was named the Freshman of the Year. In addition, Vargas was selected Summit League tournament MVP and Camacho was all-tournament. Vargas and Camacho are listed as players to watch in 2020.

Summit League Players to Watch in 2020
North Dakota – Jannay Jones, P; Jailene Carpio, IF
North Dakota State – Paige Vargas, P; Madyson Camacho, OF
Omaha – Emma Dargy, 3B; Jamie White, IF
Purdue Fort Wayne – Morganne Denny, IF; Abby Baez, C/OF
South Dakota – Alexis Devers, P; Camille Fowler, OF
South Dakota State – Kendra Conrad, P; Peyton Daugherty, UT
Western Illinois – Jasmine Lara, OF; Danielle Olson, C/IF

Preseason Notes
• A few big games to look forward to early in the season are North Dakota State taking on No. 11/T11 LSU (Feb. 20), No. 7/9 Florida (Feb. 14/15), No. 6/6 Texas (Feb. 21) and No. 8/7 Minnesota (March 22);

• North Dakota State’s Cara Beatty returns for her junior campaign after posting a .298 batting average and finishing fifth among Summit League players in RBIs (41). She enters the year as the league’s top returning RBI producer, and

• A season ago, North Dakota State posted the top team ERA of 2.57. League leader KK Leddy graduated but the Bison return Paige Vargas, who owned the league’s fifth-best ERA at 3.01. Last season, Vargas compiled a 17-5 record with 111 strikeouts in 146.1 innings of work in 28 appearances.

North Dakota State is scheduled to open the season at the University of South Carolina Gamecock Invitational on Feb. 7-9 at Carolina Stadium in Columbia.

The 2020 Summit League Softball Championship will take place May 6-9 at Tharaldson Park in Fargo, N.D.

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