With the Spring Games in full effect, and some schools playing six or more games this past week, there was a big shakeup in the DII college softball Power 10 rankings. Southern Arkansas keeps rolling, there are no undefeated teams remaining, and preseason powers like Grand Valley State seem to be back on track after slow starts.
Before we jump in, let’s remember: These are my top-10 rankings, put together using much of the same criteria the selection committee uses for the DII softball championship tournament. As we move forward I’ll look at strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups and records against DII ranked opponents amongst other criteria.
Let’s break down the latest Power 10 of the 2020 DII softball season.
The DII softball Power 10: Week 6 (all games and stats through Tuesday, March 10)
No. 1 Southern Arkansas | 22-2 | Previous: 1
The Muleriders keep the power surge going and rolled to a 4-0 record last weekend, outscoring their opponent 41-6 over the weekend. The team is hitting .363 with 47 doubles, 35 home runs and 229 runs scored which are all top-five marks in DII softball, the latter two being the most. The problem for opposing lineups is the pitching has been on fire as well making this team tough to take a series from on any weekend.
No. 2 Augustana (SD) | 14-3 | Previous: 4
The Vikings are back and look the part of reigning national champions. After a two-week hiatus, Augustana has had a strong showing at the Spring Games, going 6-1 thus far with all the wins coming in pretty dominant fashion. Ashley Mickschl is looking very ace-like, now 9-1 with a 1.96 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 65 strikeouts through 11 appearances. At the plate, Augustana blends a nice combo of contact and pop into a run-scoring machine.
No. 3 Chico State| 19-2 | Previous: 5
The Wildcats just keep winning weekends and that makes them a scary contender in a loaded West Region. As I mention every week, the pitching is just a nightmare for opposing lineups, as Sam Mulock and Brooke Larsen have allowed just 17 earned runs through 133 innings pitched. This team doesn’t have a lot of pop, but Reilani Peleti and Kristin Worley are both hitting over .400 each with an OPS over 1.100 to pace the bats.
No. 4 North Georgia | 23-4 | Previous: 7
The Nighthawks are rolling again, taking two games from last year’s national runners-up Texas A&M-Kingsville last weekend. Kylee Smith (12-2, 0.30 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and 153 strikeouts) heads a ridiculous pitching staff that has a combined 0.88 ERA and 0.80 WHIP, both tops in DII softball. If North Georgia’s bats can come alive, this team is ready for a deep run in the tournament.
No. 5 Young Harris | 17-3 | Previous: 7
Well, this is exactly how you want to see a team bounce back. After the Mountain Lions reached No. 1 two weeks ago and then suffered their first losing weekend of the season, they rebounded with a sweep through the YHC tournament. Morgan Curley paces this offense, leading the team in average (.463) and OPS (1.300), while adding four home runs and 25 RBIs. Sara King continues her impressive run in the circle.
No. 6 Texas-Tyler | 17-3| Previous: 2
One of the four undefeated teams to fall this week, the Patriots actually had it rough, going 1-3 overall. That said, they lost two to a very good top-20 Tarleton team. This team has tested itself and still has four top-25 wins under its belt early on it its DII softball resume. There will be a lot of ups and downs, especially in a Lone Star Conference that is stacked with talent, so let’s see how the Patriots respond to their first down of 2020.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCHLIST: NFCA’s 50 to watch
No. 7 Angelo State | 19-6 | Previous: NR
In a week where so many of the Power 10 teams lost multiple games, the Rambelles went 5-0 this past weekend. Courtney Barnhill — who leads the team with a .375 average, 1.187 OPS, six home runs and 21 RBIs — became the program’s all-time leading slugger this past weekend as well. The starting pitching, led by veteran Meghan Hill has kept Angelo State in ball games making it a big threat.
HOME RUNS: Here’s the top sluggers returning for 2020
No. 8 Texas A&M-Commerce | 16-7 | Previous: NR
I’m a tad bit higher on the Lions than others, especially with seven losses, but this team has played a tough schedule — the 15th-toughest in DII to be precise — and is way ahead after facing off against ranked teams seemingly every weekend. Madison Schaefer had a quiet weekend with the bat, but still leads the team with a .397 average, six home runs and 23 RBIs and Alyssa LeBlanc and Emily Otto are a formidable 1-2 punch in the circle.
No. 9 Grand Valley State | 13-3 | Previous: NR
The Lakers had a rough start to the season. They started later than others and then had their opening weekend washed out on top of that. After a 2-3 start, Grand Valley State is rolling, now winners of 11 in a row. Four everyday players are hitting north of .400 while Hannah Beatus has posted a 0.57 ERA and 0.86 WHIP through seven starts.
No. 10 Trevecca Nazarene |13-3 | Previous: NR
The Trojans are 4-2 at the Spring Games with four left on the schedule. This team can hit, with a combined .382 average and a 0.976 OPS, there’s no question there. The pitching needs to find a bit more consistency but is looking good so far. Trevecca wasn’t an NCAA tournament team last year, but are looking the part in 2020. I’m interested to see how it handles conference play.
Also considered (in alphabetical order)
- Concordia (CA): The Eagles had a rough weekend, getting swept by Hawaii Hilo, but quickly rebounded with two wins on Tuesday. There is simply too much talent and experience to not think they are contenders.
- Rollins: The Tars were the first out this week, losing a series to Saint Leo. There is plenty to like about this team.
- St. Anselm: The Hawks were No. 10 last week and are really close to the Power 10. They had a good run in Florida, beating two ranked teams. This team is solid and deep.
- Saint Leo: The Lions took a big series from Rollins last week, ousting the Tars from the Power 10 and entering themselves into the mix. A big weekend series against Florida Tech could boost them into the top 10.
- West Chester: Another preseason Power 10 team that got off to a slow start, the Golden Rams have won eight in a row. With that kind of momentum and experience returning to West Chester, it’s best to watch out.