Softball Tops Preseason SAC Poll


ROCK HILL, S.C. ( -- In what the South Atlantic Conference coaches view as a tight race, defending SAC Tournament Champion Catawba has been chosen first in the annual preseason poll.  Four different teams received first-place votes, led by Catawba’s five, and the top five teams were separated by just 12 points in the poll.  It marks the first time the Catawba Indians have topped the preseason poll.

The Lady Indians also put three players on the preseason all-conference teams.  Senior pitcher Carley Tysinger (Lexington, N.C./C. Davidson) and senior shortstop Gina Gerone (Brooklyn, N.Y./Madison) earned first team honors, while junior third baseman Katherine Shumaker (Blanch, N.C./Bartlett Yancy) was a second team pick.

Tysinger, the league’s Pitcher of the Year in 2015, went 27-11 with a 1.60 ERA last season.  Over 244 and two-thirds innings, she allowed just 177 hits with a school-record 325 strikeouts.  Tysinger owns all of Catawba’s strikeout records.

Gerone had a strong finish to 2015, earning SAC Tournament MVP honors after blasting three home runs in the championship game.  On the year, Gerone hit .367 with nine home runs and 29 RBI.  Shumaker split time at third base and catcher while hitting .304.  She homered five times and drove in 26 runs.

The South Atlantic Conference softball season gets underway on Saturday, Jan. 30.  Catawba opens its season on February 6 in Savannah, Ga., against Lincoln Memorial and Armstrong.  The 2016 SAC Softball Tournament will take place April 28-May 1 at Byerly Park in Hartsville, S.C.

2016 Softball Preseason Poll
1.     Catawba (5)                                          118
2.     Lenoir-Rhyne (2)                                 116
3.     Carson-Newman (3)                            113
4.     Anderson                                             108
5.     Wingate (2)                                          106
6.     Newberry                                               84
7.     Lincoln Memorial                                  70
8.     Coker                                                       61
9.     Tusculum                                                52
10.  Mars Hill                                                  44
11.  Queens                                                   29
12.  Brevard                                                   26

2016 Softball Preseason All-SAC Teams
1st Team
C: Cailah Niles, Anderson
1B: Sydney Landreth, Lenoir-Rhyne
2B: Mellena Helms, Wingate
SS: Gina Gerone, Catawba
3B: Ashley Gallman, Coker
OF: Morgan Hendrix, Wingate
OF: Molly Child, Anderson
OF: Rily Morris, Coker
DP: Taylor Rosenbalm, Queens
UT: Elayna Siebert, Carson Newman
P: Carley Tysinger, Catawba
P: Maryann Hoskins, Lenoir-Rhyne

2nd Team
C: Taylor Laskey, Wingate
1B: Emily Usiak, Wingate
2B: Taylor Barcomb, Coker
SS: Kristen Toppel, Carson-Newman
3B: Katherine Shumaker, Catawba
3B: Ellen Tillman, Mars Hill
OF: Carolyn Williamson, Tusculum
OF: Talisa Fiame, Carson-Newman
OF: Ashley Oliver, Lenoir-Rhyne
DP: Meredith Johnson, Lincoln Memorial
DP: Christina Walker, Lenoir-Rhyne
UT: Maude McCourry, Newberry
P: Stacey Houser, Wingate

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Softball Team Photo