Softball preseason rankings give glimpse into SoCon

Softball preseason rankings give glimpse into SoCon

Kaitlyn Thurston

App State softball is ranked third in the conference this season, according to the annual Southern Conference preseason coaches’ poll announced Tuesday.

Georgia Southern, last year’s tournament champion, earned seven first-place votes and 49 points to finish first on the preseason poll.

App State softball earned one first-place vote and 35 points, putting them behind Georgia Southern and second place UNC Greensboro.

The Mountaineers are the defending outright Southern Conference champions and were undefeated at home last season.

Head coach Shae Wesley will return 16 players from the 2013 roster, while adding six new players. Several of her returners will look to continue their successes from last season.

Returning junior catcher Sarah Warnock led the team in batting average (.376), slugging percentage (.515), runs scored (35) and hits (62).

Senior first baseman Lindsay Loudermilk led the Mountaineers in RBIs (37), while junior outfielder Dani Heichen led the team with 15 stolen bases last season.

Loudermilk is the only Mountaineer to earn a spot on the preseason first-team all-league selection announced by the conference Tuesday.

Warnock was once again selected to the second-team after earning the same honors in 2013.
Both Georgia Southern and UNCG also boast top players in the conference.

Georgia Southern fields senior Sarah Purvis, who was named preseason pitcher of the year, as well as seniors Kourtney Thomas and Shelby Morrill, who both earned spots on the preseason all-conference team.

Meanwhile, UNCG led the league with five preseason all-conference selections, including four first-team honors.

Returning for her second season is App State sophomore Lindsay Thomas, who was selected as preseason player of the year for the 2014 season.

The Mountaineers will begin the 2014 campaign when they travel to Tempe, Ariz. for the Kajikawa Classic where the team will play San Diego State at 4 p.m. and Western Michigan at 6 p.m. Feb. 6.

The Mountaineers will then take on Chattanooga in their 2014 home-opener March 15, starting an eight-game home stint.

Six of the eight homes games during that stretch will come against SoCon opponents with three games against UT-Chattanooga and three games against Western Carolina University.

Story: Kaitlyn Thruston, Senior sports reporter