PERKINSTON, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Gulf Coast has won 91 games over the past two seasons and the Lady Bulldogs have high expectations in 2017.
On Monday, the NJCAA released the Division II Preseason Softball Poll and MGCCC is ranked No. 5.
Gulf Coast head coach Kenneth Long said, "It's always good for our team and program to be ranked high, but we all know it's not the preseason poll that's important. It's where you finish the season. We've got to play well and see if we can live up to where they've got us."
All-American Lexie Mathis returns. She set a school record blasting 17 home runs with 60 runs batted-in and carried a .436 batting average last season.
Izzy Werdann is back. The sophomore catcher/third baseman from Tate High School in Pensacola, Florida hit .323 in 2016 with 41 RBI.
Coach Long should reach a milestone in his outstanding career. He's nine games away from reaching the 500-win mark. He has 491 wins and 188 losses entering his 16th season at Gulf Coast.
The Lady Bulldogs open the season February 1, a road game at Faulkner State. MGCCC will host Alabama Southern in a double-header on February 9 at East Central High School in Hurley.
Gulf Coast is building a new stadium at Ross-Smith Field, expected to open for the 2018 season. The Lady Bulldogs will split home games between East Central, Biloxi and West Harrison high schools this season.