The University of Wisconsin-Superior softball team is picked to finish in eighth place in the Wisconsin Intercollege Athletic Conference this season.
The Yellowjackets, who picked up one first-place, won the WIAC crown in 2002 and have 14 freshman and transfers on this year’s roster — the largest group of newcomers for coach Roger Plachta.
UWS welcomes back senior Ashley Martin, who returns after missing all of 2012 with an injury. In 2011, she led the team with a .444 batting average, .661 slugging percentage, .462 on-base percentage, 55 hits, 10 doubles and seven triples. Martin was named to the WIAC first team in 2010 and 2011 and was honorable mention in 2009.
UW-Whitewater is expected to win the 2013 WIAC softball championship, according to the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
The Warhawks collected 11 first-place votes in the conference poll and have won eight WIAC regular-season titles, with the most recent in 2009. UWW has posted 30 or more wins in four of the last five seasons and returns all nine starting position players from a year ago.
’JACKET JOTTINGS: Plachta begins his 13th season at UWS with an overall record of 245-208-1. … The Yellowjackets return four letterwinners and lost four letterwinners. They also return five starters and two experienced pitchers, including former Superior Spartan Amanda LeBard, who was WIAC honorable mention in 2011. Senior infielder Lindsay Garay also returns. She was also honorable mention all-conference in 2011.
2013 Preseason Predictions
1. UW-Whitewater (11) 32-11 12-4
2. UW-Eau Claire (6) 33-14 14-2
3. UW-River Falls 34-15 10-6
4. UW-Platteville 20-19 8-8
5. UW-Oshkosh 22-20 7-9
6. UW-Stout 20-22, 8-8
7. UW-La Crosse 20-15 5-11
8. UW-Superior (1) 12-20 5-11
9. UW-Stevens Poin 14-24 3-13
( )--First-place votes