ALLIANCE, Ohio - An experienced Mount Union softball team enters the 2020 season with the return of eight returning starters, looking to build off a 23-win team from a year ago.
The Purple Raiders ended last season on a nine-game winning streak to finish fifth in the Ohio Athletic Conference to just miss out on the four-team OAC Tournament.
Fifth year head coach Meghan Simons also brought in 14 newcomers to round out the roster for a squad that OAC coaches picked fifth in the 2020 preseason poll.
Headlining the returning players for Mount Union are a trio of All-OAC selections from a year ago in juniors Maddie Pidgeon (Salem / West Branch), Brooklyn Hellman (Canton / Massillon Jackson) and Allie Goldy (Painesville / Riverside).
Pidgeon was an All-OAC first team pick at second base, who finished 2019 with a .360 batting average, was second on the team in runs batted in with 23 while her six home runs led the team and was third-best in the conference.
Hellman was an All-OAC first team selection in the outfield, who was the team's top hitter with 48 hits and a .400 batting average while her 13 stolen bases led the team and was fourth in the conference.
Goldy, a utility player, hit .378 with 45 hits and 18 runs batted in to grab honorable mention honors. It is her second year on the all-conference team as she was a first team selection and OAC Freshman of the Year in 2018.
The other returning position player starters include junior third baseman Maggie Dominick (Dennison / Tuscawaras Central Catholic), junior outfielder Montana Martin (Massillon / Tuslaw), sophomore shortstop Payton Guspyt (Port Washington / Indian Valley), junior outfielder Savannah Miner (Louisville) and junior catcher Natalie Martin (Millersburg / West Holmes).
In the circle, junior Peyton Morrison (Canton / GlenOak) led the team in appearances (19), wins (9) and saves (2). Sophomore Ashley Cascio (Elyria / Elyria Catholic) also returns with a 3.52 earned run average in 17 appearances.
Mount Union opens its season playing 14 games at the Spring Games in Clermont, Florida, before the home and OAC opener against Heidelberg Saturday, March 21 at 1 p.m. at 23rd St. Field in Alliance.
2020 OAC Coaches Preseason Softball Poll
- Muskingum -- 75 (5)
- Baldwin Wallace -- 74 (4)
- Otterbein -- 62 (1)
- Ohio Northern -- 60
- Mount Union -- 47
- Wilmington -- 34
- Marietta -- 30
- Heidelberg -- 26
- John Carroll -- 25
- Capital -- 13