SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (SUMMIT) – For the second straight season, South Dakota State, the defending Summit League regular season and tournament champions, has been tabbed as the preseason favorite for the 2023 season after a vote of the league’s eight head coaches in the annual preseason poll.
The Jackrabbits, who received six first-place votes and 48 total points, will be vying for their third-straight regular season crown after claiming the 2022 title with a league mark of 18-2 and finishing with a 41-13 overall record.

Omaha was seven points behind SDSU and received a first-place vote after finishing last season second in the standings in back-to-back campaigns. North Dakota State, who will be searching for their ninth overall regular season crown, captured the final first-place vote and received a total of 40 points. South Dakota was slated to finish fourth (28) while Kansas City, under first-year head coach Kiki Stokes O’Connor, tallied 25 points and was picked fifth.

St. Thomas was picked to finish sixth with 19 points while North Dakota (16) and Western Illinois (7) rounded out the poll in seventh and eighth, respectively.

Summit League teams begin action on Friday, Feb. 10. The 2023 Summit League Softball Championship will take place May 10-13 at Jackrabbit Softball Stadium in Brookings, S.D.

Enter the promocode HomeRun within Fan Rewards section of the Summit League app for 200 reward points! If you don’t have the free app, download now at

2023 Summit League Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll

RankSchoolPoints (1st)2022 Record (SL)
1.South Dakota State48 (6)41-13 (18-2)
2.Omaha41 (1)32-14 (17-4)
3.North Dakota State40 (1)30-23 (10-8)
4.South Dakota2828-25 (11-10)
5.Kansas City2513-34 (9-11)
6.St. Thomas1914-36 (8-13)
7.North Dakota1614-39 (4-17)
8.Western Illinois78-37 (4-17)

2023 Summit League Preseason Players to Watch

Note: Players to Watch nominated by league’s head coaches

Kansas City
Ally Vonfeldt // Infield // Senior // Wichita, Kan.
• Named to the All-Summit League Second Team after posting a .322 batting average in League play along with the third highest slugging percentage (.447) with nine doubles two triples and four home runs
• Record the second most doubles, triples and runs scored (26) on the team

• Held the longest reached-base streak at 11 games in a row
Camryn Stickel // Pitcher // Junior // Raymore, Mo.
• Made 22 appearances in the circle with 13 starts, pitching a total of 81.2 innings and recorded 39 strikeouts with four wins
• Posted a 2.18 ERA in League play, only allowing 11 earned runs in 35.1 innings

North Dakota
Madi Moore // Senior // Outfield // Great Falls, Mont.
• Named an All-Summit League First Team recipient after leading the Fighting Hawks in batting average (.347), OPS (.733), at-bats (167), hits (58), total bases (61), slugging percentage (.365) and on-base percentage (.368)
• Stole eight bases with six walks and drove in seven runs

• Had six outfield assists and notched a .986 fielding percentage
Cassie Castaneda // Senior // Catcher // Tuscon, Ariz.
• Hit .276 overall last season with a .672 OPS and started all 47 games behind the plate
• Posted 37 hits with 14 RBI, nine doubles 11 walks and an on-base percentage of .329
• Threw out a league best 16 runners caught stealing and had a .989 fielding percentage

North Dakota State

Lainey Lyle // Senior // Pitcher // Middleton, Idaho

• Made 18 appearances in the circle with 12 starts
• Posted a 7-5 record in 81 innings pitched, logging a season high 7 innings pitched on four occasions
• Pitched eight complete games, one complete game shutout, logged in 56 strikeouts with a 2.68 ERA
Emilee Buringa // Outfield // Junior // St. Charles, Minn.
• Named to last season’s All-Summit League Second Team starting all 53 games in center field
• Had 47 hits in 159 at-bats (.296), leading the team in runs (44), on-base percentage (.415), total bases (79), slugging percentage (.497) and OPS (.912)
• Had 72 putouts and was 8-for-11 in stolen base attempts

Kamryn Meyer // Pitcher // Senior // Wilton, Iowa
• Was named to last season’s All-Summit League First Team and NFCA Central All-Region Second Team where she made 34 appearances and 29 starts in the circle for the Mavericks, pitching 19 complete games with 12 shutouts and finished with a 22-7 record with a 1.14 ERA over 178.2 innings of work
• Ranked first in the league with a 1.14 ERA (10th in NCAA), 3.52 hits per seven innings (5th in NCAA), 12 shutouts (3rd in NCAA), 285 total strikeouts (6th in NCAA) and 22 wins (22nd in NCAA)
• Ranked second in the league with three saves and 11.2 strikeouts per seven innings (6th in NCAA) and set the single-season program history with 285 strikeouts
Lynsey Tucker // Utility // Senior // Lincoln, Neb.
• Named to the All-Summit League Second Team after starting in all 46 games at second base where she hit .322 with 48 hits, including nine doubles and one triple
• Tallied 17 RBI, scored 48 runs and was 16-for-16 on stolen bases
• Recorded only one error over the 46 games finishing last season with a .993 fielding percentage

St. Thomas
Brooke Ellestad // Shortstop // Sophomore // Kimberly, Wis.
• Named the 2022 Summit League Freshman of the Year and named a First Team All-Summit League selection
• Batted a league-high .425 with a .455 on-base percentage and slugged at a .604 clip
• Amassed 57 hits and scored 28 runs with 27 RBI while hitting six home runs
Isabelle True // Pitcher // Senior // Fruitland, Iowa
• Make 12 starts in 16 appearances last season where she captured a pair of wins and tosses 55.2 innings with a 4.15 ERA
• Struck out 24 batters, earned one save and pitched five complete games
• Struck out a season-high four batters at Green Bay and against North Dakota

South Dakota
Aleesia Sainz // Infield // Senior // Casa Grande, Ariz.
• All-Summit League First Team honoree in the infield and was one of three Coyotes to start all 53 games, with her at third base
• Led the league in OPS (1.166), hitting a team-high .343 with 11 home runs, 43 RBI and 37 runs scored
• Notched 12 doubles, one triple and was walked 34 times, the 14th-most to a player during a season in league history and third-most in program history

Clara Edwards // Pitcher // Sophomore // Clay Center, Kan.
• All-Summit League Second Team honoree winning a total of 16 games, which is the seventh-most in program history
• Pitched in 40 of 53 games and made 31 starts, ranking 17th nationally in appearances
• Led the league with 193.2 innings pitched, compiling a 2.75 ERA while striking out 120

South Dakota State
Tori Kniesche // Pitcher // Junior // Wayne, Neb.
• Named to the 2022 All-Summit League First Team, NFCA All-Midwest Region First Team, was named the Summit League Tournament MVP and All-Tournament Team
• Went 18-5 overall and recorded a 1.42 ERA in 163 innings pitched while striking out 268 batters and threw three no-hitters during the campaign including back-to-back efforts against St. Thomas on consecutive days
• Registered 16 double-digit strikeout games and 10 shutouts and her 10 shutouts were seventh most in Division I, her strikeout total on the year was 17th best in the nation, her strikeout per seven innings mark (11.5) was third and her 3.52 hits allowed per seven innings was seventh in the country
Rozelyn Carrillo // Infield // Junior // Palmdale, Calif.
• Named the 2022 #SummitSB Player and Defensive Player of the Year, All-Summit League First Team and NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team honoree
• Hit a team-leading .389 (80th in Division I) behind 68 hits, recorded 11 home runs, 13 doubles, 16 walks, struck out 16 and drove in 47 runs
• Started and played all 54 games with 17 multi-hit performances and notched a school-record 24-game hit streak that lasted from March 16-May 14
Western Illinois
Georgia Rea // Catcher/Utility // Sophomore // Lawrence, Kan.
• Made 41 appearances with 40 starts, batting .221 across 104 at-bats
• Led the team in extra-base hits (10), home runs (5), RBI (14), slugging percentage (.413) and walks (15)
• Stole four bases and finished last season with a .978 fielding percentage on 225 chances
Savannah Rodriguez // Pitcher // Graduate // Woodridge, Ill.
• Appeared both as a hitter and pitcher, starting 37 of 38 games as a hitter
• Hit .260 across 100 at-bats, leading the team with six doubles and recorded six multi-hit games
• Pitched 53.2 total innings across 16 appearances in the circle, finishing the season with 43 strikeouts