BELOIT - It sounds strange to say, but Beloit College's softball team will head north to start spring training later this week.
The Buccaneers will play at the ACM Tournament at the Rochester Dome in Minnesota Saturday and Sunday. After that, the team will head to Kissimmee, Fla., for the rest of its annual spring trip.
Kim Zarling's squad finished a rebuilding season in 2017 with an 8-28 overall mark that included 5-13 in the Midwest Conference. The Bucs remain a young team this season with 12 first-year players and sophomores.
With that kind of youth, the Bucs have been picked to finish ninth in the 2018 MWC coaches' poll. St. Norbert was picked first, followed in order by Lake Forest, Illinois College, Cornell, Monmouth, Grinnell, Ripon, Lawrence, Beloit and Knox.
The Bcs' leading returnee is sophomore outfielder Madi Christine from Huntington Beach, Calif. She had a breakout first year, leading the team with a .329 batting average and four triples en route to Second Team All-MWC recognition. She was second on the squd in runs (13) and posted the third-most hits (28).
Outfielder/third baseman Emily Malarski is the lone senior returning for the Bucs. She led the team in runs (14), hits (30) and walks (17) in 2017.
The Bucs return their top two pitchers: juniors Alyssa Boltik and Sonya Myscofski. They'll have competition with six first-year dual role pitchers/position players.