SSU picked 11th in MSC preseason softball poll

PORTSMOUTH — The Shawnee State softball program was able to claim 16 points in the Mid-South Conference’s Preseason Coaches Poll — in a release put out by conference officials last Friday afternoon.

SSU, which finished nine points back of Thomas More and just a dozen away from Pikeville for 10th and ninth place in the poll, has an opportunity to surprise.

The Bears lose Ashtyn Saunders and Haley Rawlins off last year’s roster following outstanding careers from that duo, but return reliable hands in Mo Wolansky and Gracie Keplinger among others.

Bailey Kemp is also back after missing the shortened 2020 season with an injury, as is Kalle Coleman, who showed tremendous promise in her 10 appearances at the shortstop position last spring.

Andrea Little, Sunterius Armstrong, Ashton Rankin, Madison Sifford, Brooke Webb, Josie Campbell, Faith Brown, Kylie Ray, Kylie Sims, Cameryn Alexander and Rebekah Badgett all return to the roster with experience — with Little, Armstrong, Rankin, Ray, Sims and Sifford seeing significant playing time during Shawnee State’s shortened 7-3 campaign.

In addition to those talents, Shawnee State brought in a deep recruiting class chalk-full of familiar names, with Portsmouth Notre Dame and Wheelersburg ace pitchers Cassie Schaefer (Notre Dame) and Sydney Spence (Wheelersburg), Kent State transfer and former Northwest catching standout Laiken Rice, utility standouts Brittani Wolfenbarker and Jewel Williamson, and OHSAA Division IV sluggers in Paint Valley’s Paige Rickey and Green’s Rachael Cline.

Bellefontaine native Bethany Lowery rounds out the incoming recruiting class.

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