January 29, 2020
Seattle University softball has been named the preseason favorites in the 2020 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Coaches' Poll, released on Wednesday morning. A WAC-high five Redhawks were voted Preseason All-WAC: Madison Cathcart, Ally Choate, Carley Nance, Shi Smith, and Bailey Thompson. SU earned five first-place votes in the preseason poll, totaling 35 points to top the rankings. Grand Canyon picked up two first-place votes to place second. New Mexico State, California Baptist, and Utah Valley were picked third, fourth, and fifth, while Kansas City and CSU Bakersfield rounded out the poll. Seattle U had its most successful season in program history in 2019. It won a school-record 40 games and claimed the WAC regular-season and tournament titles on its way to its first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament appearance. The Redhawks beat Fordham, 1-0, in eight innings to take their first D1 NCAA contest. Cathcart got on base at a .430 clip in 2019, belting 12 home runs and 13 doubles. She drew 33 walks and drove in 55 runs in 55 games at first base. The Longview, Wash., native picked up All-WAC Second Team and NCAA Tournament All-Regional Team accolades. Cathcart is SU's career leader in doubles (46), walks (109), and putouts (1,308) heading into her senior campaign.Choate batted .397 with a .452 on-base percentage while starting all 57 games last year. The Yelm, Wash., native led the WAC and set a school record with 75 hits while scoring 46 runs. Choate earned NFCA All-Region Second Team, All-WAC First Team, and NCAA Tournament All-Regional Team honors for her standout 2019 season.Nance was a dual threat in 2019, going 17-9 with a 2.00 earned run average in 147.1 innings of work, while also batting .278 with seven home runs and seven doubles at the plate. The native of Maple Valley, Wash., was one of just six players to appear in the 2019 NCAA Tournament who won 17 games and hit seven HRs. Nance was NFCA All-Region Second Team, All-WAC First Team, and WAC Tournament MVP.Smith went 9-4 in 32 appearances in the circle last season. She held opposing hitters to a .211 batting average, striking out 104 in 99.1 innings of work. Smith's 7.34 strikeouts per seven innings is a single-season record at Seattle U. The native of Gresham, Ore., set the single-game school record with 12 strikeouts against CSU Bakersfield on April 20. Thompson broke out in 2019, batting .323 with .616 slugging percentage. The catcher from Tuscon, Arizona, smashed a team-high 13 homers and tied the school record with 13 hit by pitches. Thompson was an All-WAC First Team choice after leading the conference in on-base percentage and slugging percentage in WAC contests.
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