If they needed more incentive on the eve of their conference opener, Hamline's softball team may have gotten it from the league's coaches. In their annual preseason preview, the league's coaches have the Pipers on the close outside looking in at the postseason.
Hamline, which made an impressive late-season run last year to make the conference playoffs, is picked for fifth in the 2012 season that begins Wednesday afternoon with a doubleheader at St. Thomas. The first game is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. You can follow the games online by clicking here.
The Tommies, winners of 10 of the last 12 MIAC crowns, drew 10 first place votes and were picked to lead the loop at season's end with 109 points. Gustavus Adolphus, which received a pair of first place votes, finished with 102 points and was picked for second. St. Mary's (86), which will visit Meredith Field April 3 to open the HU home season, got the third place nod. Bethel (79) is picked for the last playoff spot with the Pipers getting 67 points and a fifth place prediction.
Hamline enters the conference opener with an 1-11 overall record. UST is 13-5 overall.
To see the entire poll ... plus read previews of the entire league ... click here.