Sarah Olin, Sports Editor
The Armstrong Pirates were voted second place for the Peach Belt Conference softball preseason coaches poll announced Thursday. The Pirates received 134 points to put them six points shy of first place behind the North Georgia Nighthawks at 140.
Following Armstrong in the poll, ranking from highest to lowest are: Georgia College, Young Harris, UNC Pembroke, Francis marion, Lander, USC Aiken, Columbus State, Flager, Augusta, Georgia Southwestern and Montevallo.
The 2016 season was the most successful season yet for the Pirates, advancing to the final four of the NCAA National Tournament. The Pirate’s return to the mound for the 2017 season ranked #3 in the NFCA preseason top 25 after going 43-15 last year.
The Pirates will return 13 players and seven starters from last year’s squad. Kim Dean will take the role as the new head coach, replacing Ted Evans who was the head coach for ASU softball since 2005.
The consolidation between Georgia Southern and Armstrong still leaves uncertainty for the 2017-2018 seasons but senior pitcher Jane Trzaska says it’s only fueling the teams fire.
“We are using the merge as motivation. On the field we are very focused on one goal,” Trzaska said. “We are ready to get playing and put our talent all together. I think this season will be very exciting.”
The ASU softball squad return to the mound for their season opener at Florida Tech, Friday January 3, at 12:30PM for the Florida Tech Marriott First Pitch Classic.