Rock Hill, S.C. - Brevard College tied with Tusculum College for eighth place as they received 30 points in the preseason poll. Brevard had two preseason All-Conference players in pitcher Martika Elmore (Fayetteville, N.C.) and third baseman Maddie Fletcher (Charlotte, N.C.). Elmore led the conference in strikeouts last season.
Lenoir-Rhyne University, which won the 2010 regular-season and Food Lion Tournament titles, is the favorite to win the 2011 South Atlantic Conference softball championship in a vote of the league’s head coaches, the conference announced.
Lenoir-Rhyne received eight first-place votes and 98 total points. The Lady Bears went 15-1 in conference play last season and 52-9 overall, and advanced to the championship series of the NCAA Southeast Super Region Tournament. Lenoir-Rhyne finished the season ranked ninth in the NFCA final coaches poll.
Lenoir-Rhyne also placed six on the preseason All-Conference team, which was also announced. Shortstop Kat Rivers, the returning SAC Player of the Year and first-team All-American, is one of four Bears on the first team. Catcher Sarah Atkins, pitcher Dawon Millwood and second baseman Carlee Carpenter join Rivers on the first team. First baseman Jessica Fellmeth and outfielder Tameron Sealey were named to the second team. Rivers led the SAC in hits and home runs in 2010.
Wingate University is picked to finish second. The Bulldogs received one first-place vote and 85 total points. The Bulldogs return two of the league’s top pitchers in preseason first-team All-Conference selection Brittany Blankenship, and second-team selection Allison Smith. Designated player Emily Chavis was also a first-team preseason All-Conference selection. Blankenship was 19-8 last year with a 1.39 ERA, while Smith went 16-7 with a 1.97 ERA.
Carson-Newman College is the pick to finish third. The Lady Eagles received one first-place votes and 80 total points.
Carson-Newman placed three on the preseason All-Conference team, with utility player Mary Shealy earning first-team honors. Catcher Bri Shoemake and outfielder Leah Price were named to the second team.
Mars Hill College is picked to finish fourth with 67 total points. The Lions also had three on the preseason All-Conference team. First baseman Ashley Seawell and third baseman Natalie Haithcox were named to the first team, while, shortstop Amanda McArthur was named to the second team. Seawell led the conference with a .450 batting average in 2010.
Newberry College received 58 points for fifth place in the poll. The Wolves had three named to the preseason All-Conference team. Outfielders Chelsea Chipoletti and Aissa Gatewood were both named to the first team, while Felicia Taylor was named to the second team as a designated player.
Lincoln Memorial University is picked to finish sixth with 40 points. The Railsplitters placed two on the preseason All-Conference team in outfielder Jackie Adams and utility player Meghan LaFevor.
Catawba College was close behind with 39 points. Outfielder Carly Sabat was named to the preseason All-Conference first team. She hit .384 and scored 51 runs last year.
Tusculum College tied for eighth place along with Brevard. The Pioneers received 30 points.
Tusculum had one preseason All-Conference selection in Taylor McDonald at second base.
Anderson University rounds out the preseason poll with 23 points.
The 2011 softball season starts Friday, February 4 with Anderson competing in a tournament in Americus, Ga,, while Mars Hill has a pair of games scheduled in the Belmont Abbey tournament in Gastonia, N.C.
The 2011 Food Lion SAC Softball Tournament will be April 20-23 in Jefferson City, Tenn., with Carson-Newman serving as the host. The top eight finishers in the regular season will advance to the conference tournament.
2011 SAC SOFTBALL COACHES POLL
|4. Mars Hill||67|
|6. Lincoln Memorial||40|
2011 SAC SOFTBALL ALL CONFERENCE TEAM
Catcher – Sarah Atkins, Lenoir-Rhyne
Pitcher – Dawon Millwood, Lenoir-Rhyne
Pitcher – Brittany Blankenship, Wingate
1st base – Ashley Seawell, Mars Hill
2nd base – Carlee Carpenter, Lenoir-Rhyne
Shortstop – Kat Rivers, Lenoir-Rhyne
3rd base – Natalie Haithcox, Mars Hill
Outfield – Carly Sabat, Catawba
Outfield – Chelsea Chipoletti, Newberry
Outfield – Aissa Gatewood, Newberry
Utility – Mary Shealy, Carson-Newman
Designated Player – Emily Chavis, Wingate
Catcher – Bri Shoemake, Carson-Newman
Pitcher – Martika Elmore, Brevard
Pitcher – Allison Smith - Wingate
1st base - Jessica Fellmeth – Lenoir-Rhyne
2nd base – Taylor McDonald - Tusculum
Shortstop - Amanda McArthur – Mars Hill
3rd base – Maddie Fletcher, Brevard
Outfield – Leah Price – Carson-Newman
Outfield –Tameron Sealey – Lenoir-Rhyne
Outfield –Jackie Adams – Lincoln Memorial
Utility – Meghan LaFevor, Lincoln Memorial
Designated Player – Felicia Taylor, Newberry