Central notches top-10 national softball finish

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PELLA—For the first time since 2015, the Central College softball team closed the season in the top 10 of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings.

The Dutch are No. 8 in the season’s final NFCA top 25. Central was 6-1 in the abbreviated campaign, after sharing second place at the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic in Tucson, Arizona March 6-8.

East Texas Baptist closed at No. 1 and received all eight first-place votes, posting a 15-0 mark with the Leadoff Classic title. Texas Lutheran (19-1) remained at No. 2.

No other American Rivers schools were ranked. Central is the highest-ranked team in its region.

It’s Central’s sixth top-10 ranking since 2009. The Dutch were No. 7 in 2011 and 2013, No. 9 in 2012 and No. 10 in 2009 and 2015.

Under NFCA Hall of Fame coach George Wares, Central has reached a record 30 NCAA Division III tournaments with four national titles. Wares, the winningest coach in Division III history, has compiled a 1,158-395-3 (.745) record.