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Central Softball Moves Up in Latest Poll

Central College inched up yet another spot to a tie for No. 7 in the NFCA Division III softball coaches’ poll. The Dutch, 17-3, were No. 8 a week ago. They opened the season at No. 12 and slipped to No. 13 before beginning their steady climb. Central won three of four games at the St. Louis Invitational last weekend.

Defending champion Linfield College (22-2) is a unanimous pick for No. 1. Iowa Conference rival Coe College (18-2) is No. 3 and Luther College (12-2) is No. 5. Central shares the No. 7 spot with Pacific Lutheran (18-6), which earlier handed Linfield its only two losses.

Central enters one of its most challenging six-day stretches in recent memory Saturday, traveling to Decorah for an Iowa Conference doubleheader with No. 5 Luther, before journeying to No. 3 Coe College for a twinbill next Wednesday, with a non-conference doubleheader against perennial NCAA tourney contender Washington-St. Louis at Pella the following day. The Bears are among those squads also receiving votes in the poll.