by Alan Babbitt
With three All-MIAA honorees returning, the Hope College softball team is picked to be a challenger for a league championship this season.
The Flying Dutch finished third in the 2020 MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll with 51 points and one first-place vote. Trine University topped the poll with 63 points, while Calvin University was second with 57 points.
Led by head coach Mary VandeHoef, Hope is coming off a 2019 season where the Flying Dutch posted a 24-13 record and qualified for the MIAA Tournament.
The Flying Dutch return All-MIAA First Team shortstop Savannah Dixon of Niles, Michigan (Edwardsburg HS) and two All-MIAA Second Team honorees: catcher Morgann Kanouse of Cadillac, Michigan (Cadillac) and second baseman Arinn King of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville).
Dixon batted a team-leading .419 last season with a school-record 48 runs batted in.
Hope's season opener is scheduled for Friday, March 6 with a non-league doubleheader at Manchester College (Indiana).