New York, NY –The Sage College's softball team has been picked second in the race for the 2015 Skyline Conference Championship in pre-season voting conducted by the league's eight head coaches. The Gators picked up 40 votes and two first place votes behind Farmingdale State College. The Rams were picked first to possibly to win their fifth consecutive Skyline Softball Championship.
FSC will be led by junior catcher Meagan Anderson, a two-time first-team All-Conference selection. Anderson led the Skyline in batting average (.480) runs scored (48) and doubles (18) last season, while seniors Taylor Tedeschi and Taylor Webb combined for 22 wins and 28 complete games a year ago.
Having compiled 74 victories over the past three seasons, Sage finished second in the voting and received a pair of first-place votes. Kristen Beikirch (Brockport, NY/Brockport), a three-time All-Conference honoree and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, batted .374 in 2014 and enters her senior season with career totals of 175 RBI and 128 runs scored.
Coming off a program-best 28-win season and advancing to the Skyline Championship for the first time since 2008, Mount Saint Vincent placed third in the poll with 38 points. The Dolphins, who also received a first-place vote, will be anchored by reigning Skyline Pitcher of the Year Mackenzie Heizer (10-2) and first-team All-Conference hurler Kathleen Davis (11-5).
After posting a 10-4 mark in Skyline play in 2014, Mount Saint Mary finished fourth in the voting with 32 overall points. The Knights welcome back a pair of first-team All-Conference selections in second baseman Shannon Sommer (.438 batting average) and third baseman Danielle Soto (33 RBI).
St. Joseph's-L.I. also earned a first-place vote and finished fifth in the voting with 29 points, followed by Old Westbury (19), Purchase (13) and Sarah Lawrence (7).
The four-team, double-elimination Skyline Softball Championship will be held April 24-26 on the campus of the regular-season champion. The winner will receive the league's automatic berth to the 2015 NCAA Softball Championship.
The Skyline also welcomes its newest member, Sarah Lawrence College, to the conference this season. SLC will play a full league schedule but will not be eligible for the 2015 Skyline and NCAA Championships as it completes its final year of NCAA Division III provisional membership.
Sage returns nine letterwinners from last year's Skyline Conference Runner-up squad that went 23-14 and won the league's regular-season crown after a 10-4 mark in conference play.
Head Coach Jamie Brown also returns a lineup that features junior pitcher Katie Kovage (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls Central), who was a 2014 Skyline Conference All-Star First Team honoree. She finished her second season at Sage ranked in both pitching and hitting categories. She closed the season with a .382 batting average which was second on the team and added 38 RBI's to finish the year ranked No. 80 with her 1.03 RBI per game average. She added an 11-7 record in the circle with a 3.85 ERA in 94.2 innings of work. She ranked nationally as well with her 5.5 per game strikeout average and with her 11 wins on the season. She is currently No. 9 all-time in the Sage career pitching record book in appearances (43), while ranking No. 11 in innings pitched (196.1), No 13 in complete games (19), No. 5 in victories (21), and No. 5 in strikeouts (135). She owns a 2.92 career ERA in her two seasons with the program.
The Gators will make their annual trip to Florida to play at the National Training Center March 8-14 before returning the New York. The team's home opener is slated for Sunday, March 22 when they host the Gryphons of Sarah Lawrence College at Robinson Field in a Skyline doubleheader at noon.
2015 Preseason Coaches' Poll Points
1. Farmingdale State (4) 46
2. Sage (2) 40
3. Mount Saint Vincent (1) 38
4. Mount Saint Mary 32
5. St. Joseph's-L.I. (1) 29
6. Old Westbury 19
7. Purchase 13
8. Sarah Lawrence 7
First-place votes in parentheses