Softball Picked Fourth in SAC Preseason Poll
ROCK HILL, SC -- Catawba was slated fourth in the South Atlantic Conference softball preseason coaches’ poll and had three players on the preseason All-SAC squad. Defending champion Lenoir-Rhyne is a nearly unanimous pick to win the 2012 title, it was announced on Thursday by the league office.
Catawba is coming off a 32-19 campaign which saw the team reach its first-ever SAC Tournament Championship game in 2011. The Lady Indians return all but two starters from a year ago. Catawba has to replace All-SAC performers Carly Sabat in centerfield and designated hitter Khourtni Hester.
Earning preseason honors were sophomore infielder Kayla Myers (Bryson City, NC/Swain Co. HS), sophomore pitcher Emily Huneycutt (Locust, NC/W. Stanly HS) and senior first baseman Alli Justice (Bishopville, MD/Decatur HS). Myers batted .368 with eight homers and 33 RBI as a freshman. Huneycutt set a school record by tossing eight shutouts, finishing with an 18-10 record and a 2.10 ERA. Justice delivered a school-record 17 doubles, while hitting .308 and driving in 36 runs.
Lenoir-Rhyne went 45-10 overall and 16-2 in league play in 2011, winning both the SAC regular season and Food Lion Tournament championships. L-R received all but one of the preseason poll’s first-place votes. One of those league losses was to Catawba.
Carson-Newman is second in the preseason poll and is followed by Wingate and Catawba. Tusculum is No. 5 in the preseason poll, followed by Lincoln Memorial – which received the other first-place vote – and Anderson.
The 2012 softball season is scheduled to get underway on Feb. 2 with Carson-Newman taking on St. Andrews Presbyterian. The 2012 Food Lion SAC Championship will take place April 19-22 on the Tusculum campus.
2012 SAC Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team, Points (1st-place votes)
1. Lenoir-Rhyne, 99 (9)
2. Carson-Newman, 84
3. Wingate, 77
4. Catawba, 71
5. Tusculum, 57
6. Lincoln Memorial, 48 (1)
7. Anderson, 37
8. Mars Hill, 34
9. Newberry, 25
10. Brevard, 18
2012 SAC Softball Preseason All-Conference Team
C – Brianna Shoemake, Carson-Newman
P – Mary Shealy, Carson-Newman
P – Dawon Millwood, Lenoir-Rhyne
1B – Jessica Fellmeth, Lenoir-Rhyne
2B – Carlee Carpenter, Lenoir-Rhyne
SS – Abby Child, Anderson
3B – Natalie Haithcox, Mars Hill
OF – Brianna Mulkey, Lincoln Memorial
OF – Jody Mizelle, Lenoir-Rhyne
OF – Kim Whaley, Carson-Newman
Utility – Kayla Myers, Catawba
DP – Amber Duncan, Anderson
C – Brittany Barrineau, Wingate
P – Emily Huneycutt, Catawba
P – Elizabeth Johnson, Tusculum
1B – Allison Justice, Catawba
2B – Ashley Roof, Newberry
SS – Bridget Eicher, Lincoln Memorial
3B – Haily Jarman, Lenoir-Rhyne
OF – Ashley McCurry, Mars Hill
OF – Ashley Burke, Tusculum
OF – Brittany Fowler, Brevard
Utility – Chelsi Mallory, Brevard
DP – Emily Boykin, Brevard