Three Lady Eagles Named to Preseason All-SAC Softball Teams; Lady Eagles Picked to Finish Second
ROCK HILL, S.C. – National wins leader and 2011 South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year Mary Shealy and All-American catcher Bri Shoemake have both been named to the 2012 Preseason All-SAC Softball teams, the league announced on Thursday.
Shealy and Shoemake, along with C-N outfielder Kim Whaley, were all named to the first team for Carson-Newman.
The Lady Eagles, who are picked to finish second in the SAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, will try to make their SAC-record eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Lady Eagles will lean heavily on the arm of Shealy. The senior led the nation a season ago with 38 wins in leading the Lady Eagles to a 41-17 record and a regional final appearance. She finished the year 2.18 ERA and 184 strikeouts.
At the plate, Shealy batted .299, finishing the season with 12 home runs, seven doubles, and 41 RBIs.
Shoemake, Shealy's battery mate, caught 57 games for the Eagles, batting .397 with 11 home runs, 77 hits, and 41 RBIs.
Whaley earns first team honors after starting all 59 games in the Lady Eagles' outfield last season. She batted .381 with 61 hits and a .466 on-base percentage during her junior season.
Defending SAC softball champion Lenoir-Rhyne is a nearly unanimous pick to win the 2012 title by the league's coaches.
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.
The Bears also lead the way with five selections to the preseason All-SAC Team – four on the First Team and one on the Second Team.
Pitcher Dawon Millwood returns for Lenoir-Rhyne after posting 1.43 ERA and leading the SAC with an opponent batting average of .186 last season, earning the conference's Pitcher of the Year Award. She is joined on the preseason All-SAC First Team by teammates Jessica Fellmeth at first base, Carlee Carpenter at second base and Jody Mizelle in the outfield.
No. 3 in the preseason poll is Wingate, which went 31-15 overall in 2011. WU is followed in the poll by Catawba, which will be led in 2012 by preseason All-SAC First Team selection Kayla Myers at the utility position.
Tusculum is No. 5 in the preseason poll, followed by Lincoln Memorial – which received the other first-place vote – and Anderson. Tusculum and Anderson placed two student-athletes on the preseason All-SAC Team, while LMU has three spots.
Rounding out the poll is Mars Hill at No. 8, Newberry at No. 9 and Brevard at No. 10. Newberry landed one on the preseason All-SAC Team, Mars Hill had two and Brevard had three.
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