KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Spring Hill College softball team received 537 votes and moved up 13 spots to finish the year ranked No. 2 in the final NAIA Coaches Postseason Poll released on Wednesday evening. The ranking marks the highest final ranking for the Badgers in 16 seasons of program history.
SHC (49-17) came in just 23 votes behind 2013 NAIA National Champion Concordia College (Calif.) (52-3) for the poll's top spot.
Five other Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) teams joined SHC in the Top 25 as Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) fell one spot to No. 8, Lee University dropped seven positions to No. 10, Belhaven University remained No. 13, Brenau University dropped two spots to No. 20, and William Carey University fell four places to No. 25. The University at Mobile also received three votes.
The Badgers added 216 votes to their May 7 total of 321 making the biggest improvement of all the teams listed this week.
The NAIA poll is voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independent and unaffiliated groupings.
In addition to achieving the team's highest ranking in its history, the Badgers also set numerous team and individual records in 2013. Team records on offense included most wins (49), most runs scored (309), most hits (478), most homeruns (40) and most RBI (268). Team pitching records were highlighted by most strikeouts (550) and an NAIA record most hit batters (58).
Individually, the Badgers rewrote the school's record book with 20 new high-water marks. Some of the new marks include senior Mariha Partman's record for runs scored (54) and homeruns (13), sophomore Jade Bourgeois' record for total hits (82), doubles (24) and total bases (115) and sophomore Shea Blanchard's record for most at bats (233) and fewest fielding errors (0). Junior Raleigh Downs also set a new mark for walks with 33 free trips to 1st base.
Inside the circle, NAIA 1st team All-America freshman Caroline Sagrera erased several Badger records. She led all NAIA pitchers with her school-record 482 strikeouts. Sagrera also won 39 games and pitched 42 complete games with 18 shutouts in 344.0 innings pitched.