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The Illinois Wesleyan softball team has been ranked in a tie for No. 8 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top 25 preseason poll released Wednesday.

The Titans, the defending College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin regular season and tournament champion, tied for eighth in the preseason poll with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Tufts was ranked No. 1.

IWU was 41-7 overall and 12-2 in the league last year. The Titans advanced to the Super Regional in the first year of Division III's new format. It was IWU's third straight NCAA Division III appearance and the school's 13th overall.

North Central was ranked No. 19 and Augustana No. 20.


Krapf named to Ohio Valley post: Former Illinois State track and cross country standout Scott Krapf has been hired by the Ohio Valley Conference as Assistant Commissioner for Championships.

Krapf, a graduate of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, graduated from ISU with a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in recreation management (2009) and master’s degree in sport management (2011).

He twice was selected an Academic All-American and was the 2009 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) cross country individual champion and Athlete of the Year. He was the first ISU student-athlete to receive the university’s Doug Collins Scholar-Athlete of the Year for three consecutive years.

Baseball picked sixth: The Illinois State baseball team was predicted to finish sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference, while redshirt junior Paul DeJong earned preseason all-conference team honors, the league announced Wednesday.

Dallas Baptist was picked to win the MVC title, getting seven first-place votes and 62 points. Missouri State was second (53), followed by Wichita State (43), Indiana State (42), Evansville (28), ISU (26), Bradley (18) and Southern Illinois (15).

DeJong, an All-MVC First-Team Selection a year ago, led the Redbirds in hits (76), doubles (21), triples (3), home runs (9), RBIs (48), runs (44), total bases (130) and hit by pitches (9).

ISU opens the season Feb. 13 at Arkansas State.


Baseball ranked 12th: The Heartland Community College baseball team was ranked No. 12 nationally in the NJCAA Division II preseason poll. The Hawks ended last season at No. 13 after going 43-13.

The top returnee is Mid-West Athletic Conference Co-Freshman of the Year Derek Bangert, who tied for the most home runs in NJCAA D-II with 17, and tied for sixth in the nation with 69 runs batted in. The Hawks also have been ranked 40th in Perfect Games’ Top 50 Junior College Teams, which ranks from nearly 500 programs regardless of division.

Softball rated 16th: The Heartland softball team has been ranked No. 16 in the NJCAA Division II rankings. The Hawks went 35-21 last year under first year head coach Steve Leverton and finished the season ranked 14th. They are led by returning first-team All-American and Region 24 Player of the Year Alexis Tarver.



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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