PELLA—A successful weekend in the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic propelled the Central College softball team into the top 10 in the NFCA Division III top 25 poll.

The Dutch, 6-1 overall, were 4-1 at the three-day event in Tucson, Arizona, and jumped four spots to No. 8 after opening the year at No. 22. It’s Central’s first top-10 appearance since 2017 and the squad’s highest ranking since reaching No. 4 early in the 2013 campaign. Friday Central knocked off DePauw University (Ind.), which slipped from No. 8 to No. 13 this week, and also handed Transylvania University (Ky.) its only season loss. Transylvania, which was then unranked, climbed to No. 16 at 9-1 this week.

Leadoff Classic champ East Texas Baptist (15-0) is the new choice at No. 1, although No. 2 Texas Lutheran (17-1) and No. 3 Christopher Newport University (Va.) (12-1) also received first-place votes. American Rivers rival Wartburg College (9-3) dipped from No. 21 to a tie at No. 23.

Central heads back to the Sun Belt Saturday to play 10 games in the Spring Games at Leesburg and Clermont, Florida. None of next week’s opponents appear in this week’s rankings although Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which Central meets March 21, is the leading vote-getter outside of the top 25. The Dutch open Florida play in Leesburg next Monday with a first-ever meeting against Western New England University (Mass.) at 10:15 a.m. (9:15 a.m. Central Daylight Time). Central then plays Cortland State University (N.Y.) at 12:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. Central).

Audio webcasts of selected games on the Florida trip, including the Western New England contest, will be provided through www.kniakrls.com and can be accessed directly at rdo.to/krls3.

Live stats will be available via the Central athletics website at athletics.central.edu.

NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll

March 11, 2020

Rank Team Record Pts Prev

1 East Texas Baptist (5) 15-0 192 4

2 Texas Lutheran (2) 17-1 190 1

3 Christopher Nwpt (1) 12-1 188 2

4 Illinois Wesleyan 7-1 176 5

5 Virginia Wesleyan 11-1 172 6

6 E. Connecticut St. 0-0 153 7

7 Linfield 12-2 142 3

8 Central 6-1 141 12

T9 Kean 9-1 137 11

T9 Williams 0-0 137 9

11 Mary Hardin-Baylor 12-3 114 19

12 Salisbury 17-3 107 16

13 DePauw 6-3 105 8

14 Carthage 6-1 92 20

15 Geneseo 0-0 80 18

16 Transylvania 9-1 59 NR

T17 Berry 8-2 43 NR

T17 Tufts 0-0 43 20

19 Randolph-Macon 8-3-2 40 12

T20 MSOE 9-1 38 NR

T20 St. John Fisher 7-3 38 NR

22 Manhattanville 4-2 31 24

T23 Ferrum 10-3 29 13

T23 Wartburg 9-3 29 21

25 Emory 7-5 26 NR

Others receiving votes: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 24, Washington (Mo.) 15, Trine 14, Maryville (Tenn.) 13, Moravian 12, Misericordia 5, St. Catherine 3, St. Thomas (Minn.) 3.

Dropped out: Averett, Ithaca, Rowan, Saint Benedict, The College of New Jersey.

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