LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - In exclusive voting by the head coaches in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC),Southwestern University was voted the preseason favorite to win the 2013 SCAC softball championship.
Southwestern (23 total points) received three of the five coaches’ first-place votes followed by Trinity University with the remaining two votes.
Southwestern, which begins just its fifth season of softball, is looking for its second SCAC softball championship. The Pirates won the 2010 SCAC title in the team's second season of varsity play. Last season, Southwestern finished just one game back of division champion Trinity and went 3-2 at the 2012 SCAC Softball tournament.
Head coach Angela Froboese may have just two seniors on this year's squad, but the team is still rich in talent and experience. Seven starters return to the field for the 2013 season, headed up by seniors Abigail O'Connor (catcher) and Jessica Bryant (utility).
Junior outfielder Tessa Galloway, an honorable mention All-SCAC selection last season, batted .358 with five home runs and a team-high 10 doubles in 2012.
The Pirates open up their 2013 season on Feb. 15 when they host George Fox.
Trinity followed closely behind Southwestern as the Tigers garnered 22 points and two first-place votes. Trinity enters the 2013 season with first-year head coach Brandi Crnkovic and will look to build off last season's SCAC championship game appearance. Trinity is looking for its first SCAC softball crown since 2007 and the program's eighth since softball became an SCAC sport in 1999.
The Tigers return eight first or second team All-SCAC selections from the 2012 team, including SCAC Tri-Player-of-the-Year and Newcomer-of-the-Year sophomore catcher Caitlynn Dykes. Dykes finished among the league-leaders in several offensive categories last season, including batting average (.419 - second), slugging percentage (.612 - fifth), on-base percentage (.470 - second), hits (54 - third), runs (35 - third), total bases (79 - third) and runs batted in (43 - first).
Another first team All-SCAC selection, senior pitcher Sydney Friday returns to the circle after leading the league in innings pitched (156.1) and finishing second in ERA (1.39), wins (16) and opponent's batting average (.212).
Trinity opens the 2013 campaign with a doubleheader at Texas Lutheran on Feb. 13.
Austin College finished in third-place in the coaches' preseason poll after the Kangaroos tallied 15 points in the annual poll. Like Trinity, Austin College will enter the season with a first-year coach as Andrea Vangoss takes over the reigns of the Kangaroos softball program. Austin College is coming off its second-ever appearance in the SCAC Softball tournament and looks for its first SCAC title in 2013.
Senior catcher/utility player Charlotte Trudell batted .333 for the 'Roos last season in earning honorable mention All-SCAC honors, as did senior Heather Farquhar, who hit .331 and led the team with 31 RBIs.
The Kangaroos open up the 2013 season on Feb. 14 when they host Alverno.
The University of Dallas earned eight points in the preseason poll. The Crusaders being their second year in the SCAC looking to build off of last season's 9-27 campaign. Head coach Amber Conner begins her third season at the helm of the Dallas softball program and will be looking to improve on last year's inaugural SCAC season.
Senior infielder/outfielder Brittany Castro, who earned honorable mention All-SCAC honors in 2012, returns after hitting .326 and leading the Crusaders in home runs (4), runs batted in (24), walks (15) and total bases (48).
The Crusaders begin the 2013 season on Feb. 16 when they host Alverno.
Centenary College (La.) enters its first season in the SCAC (third year in NCAA Division III) and checked into the preseason poll in fifth place with seven points. The Ladies look to improve on last season's 5-34 record.
Head coach Mark Lambert returns three of his top four hitters from a year ago, led by junior outfielder Nicole Warren, who batted .308 with team-highs in runs scored (21), hits (37) and stolen bases (11).
Centenary opens up its 2013 season on Feb. 14 when the Ladies travel to Longview, Texas to square off against LeTourneau.
|2013 SCAC Softball Preseason Poll|
||No. of Votes||2012 SCAC||2012 Overall|
|1. Southwestern University
|2. Trinity University
|3. Austin College
|4. University of Dallas
|5. Centenary College*
Note: First-place votes (in parentheses) are worth five points, second place worth four points, on down to 5th-place votes being worth one point.
*Centenary competed in the American Southwest Conference last season