CHARLOTTE, N.C.- On the heels of yet another 50 win season, the Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers Softball team has high expectations yet again in 2020 as they were tabbed the #2 team in the land on Tuesday as the NJCAA released their annual Preseason Top 20 Rankings.
FSW spent the entire regular season ranked #1 in the NJCAA polls a season ago, going 54-3, including beginning the year 33-0. They came up just short at the FCSAA/District H Tournament, falling in the State Championship game to #5 Central Florida and dropping a 2-1 extra innings heartbreaker to eventual National Champions Chipola in the District H title game.
The Bucs return a wealth of experience back into the mix this season, including a pair of First Team All-Americans in Rebeca Laudino and Owen Bowers and four All-State picks, Laudino, Bowers, Haley Ellefson, and Lindsey Corbin. All together, the Bucs return 69% of their hits from a season ago, 85% of their home runs, and 59% of their stolen bases. The only place that FSW will have to replace significant losses are in the circle where they will be without First Team All-American and State Pitcher of the Year Kelsi Collins and FGCU signee Sarah Lawton this season. They do however, return Ellefson back to the rubber a season after she flew under the radar with a 14-0 record and a 1.39 ERA in 75 2/3 innings pitched.
The 2020 preseason poll is headlined as expected by defending National Champions Chipola who garnered six of seven possible first place votes. The Bucs check in at #2 followed by Seminole State (Ok), Tyler, and Salt Lake, with Central Florida at #6. Also joining FSW, Chipola, and Central Florida in the top 20 from Florida was Indian River at #20. Seminole State and State College of Florida each received votes towards the poll.
FSW will open their 2020 campaign in Clearwater on February 1st where they will take on the aforementioned Raiders of Seminole State as well as Lake-Sumter. They open their home schedule on February 4th when they will take on Broward at City of Palms Park in Downtown Fort Myers.