Willamette Softball is Ranked #20 in NFCA Preseason Poll

Bearcats Finished 28-12 in 2010

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University softball team is ranked #20 in the NCAA Division III Preseason Poll released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). The Bearcats, who finished the 2010 season with a 28-12 overall record, received 52 points in the poll, just one point behind a tie for #18 between the Coast Guard Academy and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Willamette was 20-8 in the Northwest Conference last spring, as the Bearcats earned second place. Jessica Barry (Jr., OF, Cupertino, CA/Monte Vista HS/UNLV) is WU's top returning hitter, after leading the team with a .411 batting average. Mica Romero (Jr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian School) led the Bearcats last spring with 17 doubles and 22 extra-base hits.

All three of WU's pitchers achieved winning records last season and are returning this spring. Bri Compton (Sr., Kalispell, MT/Flathead HS/Wenatchee Valley Coll.) finished the year at 11-4, Alex Watilo (Jr., Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS) went 10-4 and Talissa Huntsman (Jr., Richland, WA/Richland HS) was 7-4.

Linfield College, which won the NWC title at 27-1 and took second place in the NCAA National Tournament, is ranked #1 in the Preseason Poll with seven of eight first place votes and 199 points. The Wildcats were 42-7 overall in 2010. Linfield and Willamette are the only NWC teams in the Preseason Poll.

Following Linfield at #2 in the poll with 172 points is Eastern Connecticut State University, 39-6-1 in 2010. Louisiana College (44-8) is ranked #3 with 171 points. DePauw University, Ind. (40-9) is listed at #4, with Luther College, Iowa (42-7) holding down the #5 spot. Defending champion East Texas Baptist University (40-12) is ranked #10 with 109 points in the poll.

Jessica Barry hit .411 for the Bearcats last spring, helping WU earn a 28-12 record.

Jessica Barry hit .411 for the Bearcats last spring, helping WU earn a 28-12 record.