Central Methodist (Mo.), defending conference regular-season champions, is ranked No. 1 in the 2019 Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) Baseball Coaches' Preseason Poll.
The Eagles, who finished 42-17 overall and 24-8 in conference play last season, received nine first-place votes and 153 points amongst the Heart coaches. The squad was also ranked No. 21 in the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Preseason Poll, breaking through the Top 25 for the thirteenth consecutive time.
Clarke (Iowa), the league's 2018 Heart of America Athletic Conference Baseball Champion, is picked second after earning three first-place votes and 147 points. The Pride finished their campaign last year with a 41-23-1 overall (23-8-1 Heart) record at the top of the North division.
A tie at the No. 3 slot is split between Grand View (Iowa) and Peru State, both receiving 118 points. Rounding out the top five teams is MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) with 113 points.
Peru State finished third in the Heart North Division last year with an 18-13 conference mark while finished the season with a 30-20 overall record. In the conference's championship tournament, the Bobcats went 2-2 with both losses coming at the hands of Grand View while sandwiching wins over Benedictine and Evangel in the middle.
The 'Cats are scheduled to open their season in non-conference with games against Avila in Kansas City, Mo., on Feb. 2 and 3 – Mother Nature permitting. Peru State's first Heart action will be March 2 and 3 when they host Graceland (Iowa).
Central Methodist and Clarke both appeared in the opening round of the 62nd Annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.
The conference season will open on March 1 with Clarke on the road at Evangel (Mo.), followed by a slew of conference matchups on March 2. Conference tournament play is slated to begin on May 1 at US Baseball Park in Ozark, Mo.
Voting for the polls was calculated with a first-place vote worth 13 points down to a 13th-place vote earning one point.