ST LOUIS. Mo. — After earning the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title for the first time in program history last year, the Eureka softball team has been voted lead the field again in 2020.
The Red Devils earned the top spot in a preseason poll by SLIAC softball coaches, the league announced on Thursday.
Eureka received 71 points and a poll-high six first-place votes.
Westminster received one first-place vote and tied with Spalding for second with 63 points overall, while Iowa Wesleyan was fourth with two first-first place votes and 58 points overall.
Greenville was fifth with 57, followed by Fontbonne (46), Webster (41), Blackburn (25), MacMurray (14) and Principia (12).
The Red Devils return the majority of the roster that seized their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history, including eight starters.
Chief among them are First-Team All-American center fielder Sydney Shubert (Canton, Ill./Canton) and first baseman Morgan Ledbetter (Hanna City, Ill./Elmwood), First-Team All-SLIAC pitcher Erin Smith (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap), 2019 SLIAC Newcomer of the Year Raeyln Payne (Lexington, Ill./Lextingon). They also return Third Team All-SLIAC infielder Adrianna Zeman (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru), third baseman Allison Cagley (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central) and outfielders Faith Bachtold (Fairbury, Ill./Prairie Central) and Klaire Wilmot (La Salle, Ill./La Salle-Peru).
Eureka will begin the 2020 campaign against Centenary in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on March 8 at 10:30 a.m.
The Red Devils will host Lincoln (Ill.) in a 2 p.m. doubleheader at Sweitzer Field on Tuesday, March 31. EC is tentatively scheduled to host 10 home games this season.