January 30, 2013
Softball Picked Third in SAC Poll; Three Named Preseason All-SAC
ROCK HILL, SC – Catawba was picked third in the 2013 SAC softball preseason coaches’ poll, which was announced by the league office on Wednesday. Catawba also had three players selected to the preseason all-conference team. Catcher Tara Gibbs (Waynesville, NC/Tuscola HS), outfielder Amanda Terry (Cordova, NC/Richmond Co. HS) and starting pitcher Emily Huneycutt (Locust, NC/W. Stanly HS) were second team picks.
Lenoir-Rhyne, which has won the last three conference titles, is the top-ranked team. The Bears received six first-place votes in the poll. L-R went 48-13 overall and 14-4 in the league play last season, reaching the NCAA Division II Softball Championship Southeast Regional Final before being eliminated.
Just behind L-R in the preseason poll at No. 2 is Anderson, which received the other four first-place votes. AU went 38-13 overall and 12-6 in the conference last season, and were the runners-up at the SAC Softball Tournament. Behind SAC Player of the Year Abby Child – who returns in 2013 -- the Trojans led the league with a .322 team batting average and finished second with 303 runs scored.
2012 NCAA Tournament selection Catawba is third in the preseason poll, followed by No. 4 Carson-Newman, No. 5 Tusculum and No. 6 Wingate. Catawba finished second in last year’s SAC standings at 12-5 in the league, C-N finished fourth at 10-8, Tusculum tied for fifth at 9-9 and Wingate was seventh at 8-10.
Catawba’s 2.18 team ERA was second in the conference in 2012, Carson-Newman had the second-highest team batting average at .297, Tusculum finished fourth in team ERA at 2.48, and the Wingate pitching staff’s 79 walks allowed were the league’s second-fewest.
Completing the preseason poll is No. 7 Mars Hill, No. 8 Lincoln Memorial, No. 9 Brevard and No. 10 Newberry.
Also announced on Wednesday was the 2013 Preseason All-SAC Softball Team, which is led by a league-high five selections from Lenoir-Rhyne.
Around the first-team infield is Wingate catcher Betsy Braswell, L-R first baseman Jessica Fellmeth, Anderson second baseman Jessica Neidigh, L-R third baseman Haily Jarman, and Child, the first-team shortstop.
Neidigh, Child and Jarman finished first, third and sixth, respectively, in the SAC in batting average in 2012. Neidigh also led the conference with 62 runs scored, Child led the league with 61 RBI, and Jarman finished first in doubles with 18.
Fellmeth’s 14 home runs tied for the second most in the SAC in 2012, while Braswell’s .584 slugging percentage was 10th.
LMU’s Briana Mulkey, Brevard’s Brittany Fowler and L-R’s Marie Mauhar make up the first-team outfield. Mulkey’s 27 stolen bases led the SAC last season, Fowler hit .339, and Mauhar hit .248 with seven doubles.
LMU’s Amanda Snow is the first-team designated player and Tusculum’s Kaytlin Stroinski was selected as the first-team utility player. Snow led the Railsplitters in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, hits, RBI and home runs in 2012, while Stroinski led TC in batting average, slugging percentage, OBP, runs, hits and home runs.
Rounding out the First Team are Tusculum pitcher Elizabeth Johnson and Brevard pitcher Kayla Clemens. Johnson and Clemens tied for fifth in the SAC last season with identical 2.26 ERAs. Johnson also recorded 125 strikeouts, while Clemens finished with 119.
Making up the second-team infield are Gibbs, Carson-Newman first baseman Caitlyn Lance, Tusculum second baseman Nicole Ball, Lenoir-Rhyne shortstop Jody Mizelle and C-N third baseman Sara Kelley.
L-R’s Brittany Coursen, Anderson’s Rebecca Martin and Terry form the second-team outfield, while Mars Hill’s Robyn Stanek was named the designated player and Newberry’s Brittany Phillips was voted the utility player.
Huneycutt and Mars Hill’s Taylor Morris were selected as the second-team pitchers.
Fellmeth, Neidigh, Child, Mulkey, Fowler, Snow, Stroinski and Johnson were all members of the 2012 All-SAC First Team, while Braswell, Jarman, Mauhar, Clemens, Lance, Coursen, Martin and Phillips were second-team selections last year.
[Complete 2013 Preseason All-SAC Team attached]
2013 SAC Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Lenoir-Rhyne, 78 (6)
2. Anderson, 71 (4)
3. Catawba, 64
4. Carson-Newman, 57
5. Tusculum, 45
6. Wingate, 41
7. Mars Hill, 34
8. Lincoln Memorial, 21
9. Brevard, 19
10. Newberry, 14
2013 South Atlantic Conference Preseason Softball Teams
C - Betsy Braswell, WU
1B - Jessica Fellmeth, L-R
2B - Jessica Neidigh, AU
SS - Abby Child, AU
3B - Haily Jarman, L-R
OF - Briana Mulkey, LMU
OF - Brittany Fowler, BC
OF - Marie Mauhar, L-R
DP - Amanda Snow, LMU
UT - Kaytlin Stroinski, TC
SP - Elizabeth Johnson, TC
SP - Kayla Clemens, BC
C - Tara Gibbs, CAT
1B - Caitlyn Lance, C-N
2B - Nicole Ball, TC
SS - Jody Mizelle, L-R
3B - Sara Kelley, C-N
OF - Brittany Coursen, L-R
OF - Rebecca Martin, AU
OF - Amanda Terry, CAT
DP - Robyn Stanek, MHC
UT - Brittany Phillips, NEW
SP - Emily Huneycutt, CAT
SP - Taylor Morris, MHC
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Swimming Men @ Gardner-Webb 5 p.m.
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