Marlins Top ODAC Softball Poll
EMU Slated Second, Three Others Tight in Top Five
FOREST, Va. --- Virginia
Wesleyan College earned seven first place votes and 77 total points
as the Marlins were picked to repeat as conference champions in the
2012 ODAC Softball Preseason Poll. Eastern Mennonite
University garnered 65 tallies and a pair of top nods in the annual
coach's survey. Bridgewater College (57), Guilford College
(54) and Roanoke College (52) are separated by just five votes for
the next three slots in the predicted rankings.
The Marlins captured their sixth ODAC title in 2011, tying for second-most in the conference behind Roanoke (7) with Lynchburg College. VWC turned the trick in just four games, the second straight year the ODAC's tournament champion needed the minimum number of games to hoist the league's hardware (EMU in 2010). VWC's crown paved the way to the NCAA Division III Tournament, but the Marlins' stay was shorter than expected following losses to Christopher Newport (8-6) and Kean University (13-5).
Virginia Wesleyan (29-11 overall, 10-8 in ODAC play in 2011) and reigning ODAC Coach of the Year, Brandon Elliott, welcome back all four of their all-conference performers from a season ago. Included in that group are a pair of All-ODAC First Team choices in ODAC Rookie of the Year, pitcher MacKenzie Creech (18-6, 1.84 ERA), and catcher Jaclyn Quinn (.378, 5 HR, 35 RBI). Creech tied for tops in the ODAC with 157 strikeouts and was second in wins (18) and innings pitched (160.0), while Quinn was second with 16 doubles and third with a .658 slugging percentage. All-ODAC Second Team first baseman Season Dailey (.297, 6 HR, 22 RBI) is set to reprise her role, as is All-ODAC Honorable Mention outfielder Tori Higginbotham (.360, 16 SB, .489 OBP).
Eastern Mennonite (27-13, 14-4) enjoys the return of six all-conference honorees, the most of any team for the 2012 campaign. Topping that list is reigning ODAC Pitcher of the Year, Lisa Lee (2.24 ERA), who led the league in wins (19) and innings pitched (165.2) while also proving adept at the dish (.339, 7 HR, 25 RBI). She's joined by fellow first team choices in outfielder/pitcher Molly Smith (.414, 14 2B, 40 RBI and 8-6, 4.45 ERA) and designated player Sara Jenkins (.364, 21 RBI). Also back are second team catcher Rasheeda Crews (.395) and shortstop Brooke Hensley (.441, 31 RBI), as well as honorable mention second baseman Courtney Allman (.286, 30 RBI), who tied atop the ODAC with eight homers.
Bridgewater (31-11, 14-4), Guilford (26-15, 10-8) and Roanoke (27-11, 12-6) combine for six returning all-conference athletes, three from the first team. Leading the way for the Eagles is first team shortstop Hillary Rees (.410, 13 2B, 33 RBI). She's joined by second team pitcher Heather Jenkins (13-6, 1.98 ERA, 120.1 IP). The Quakers will look to starter Jessica Burcham (14-6, 1.91 ERA), who led the league with 18 complete games and tied atop the charts with 157 strikeouts. The Maroons feature three returners from the all-conference lists including 2011 batting champ Leona Rainey (.446), who also led the league in stolen bases (32) and on-base percentage (.514). She's joined by fellow first team choice, utility player Stephanie Clark (.322, 15 RBI and 4-2, 0.85 ERA) and second team outfielder Hollee Warlitner (.374, 35 RBI).
Lynchburg (21-18, 8-10) goes in search of its fourth ODAC crown in the last six years. Helping with that effort is second team second baseman Sarah Smith (.263, .314 OBP) and honorable mention catcher Meagan Fredenburg (.316, 21 RBI).
Randolph (22-19, 7-11) returns three all-conference players from the team that went to the ODAC title game for the first time in school history. Lauren Stevenson (.440, 4 3B, 30 SB) and Brittany Willingham (.391, .623 SLG%) will again roam two-thirds of the WildCats' outfield after first and second team seasons, respectively. Willingham led the ODAC in doubles (17) and runs batted in (49). Also back in action is honorable mention shortstop Ashley Gardner (.309), who was second in RBI (42).
Randolph-Macon (21-13, 11-7) and Emory & Henry (10-24, 4-12) each feature a returning all-conference standout. The Yellow Jackets welcome back second team utility player Heather Lewis, who performed well both at the plate (.314, .392 OBP) and in the circle (9-8, 2.27 ERA). The Wasps are led by honorable mention catcher Jenae Morrissey (.346, .400 OBP) as new head coach Sara Schoenhoft prepares for her first season in Emory.
Sweet Briar College (0-20, 0-18) will look for new on-field leaders following the graduation of key seniors from 2011. Catcher/first baseman Nikki Thompson (.225, .311 OBP) is the Vixens' top returning hitter.
Listed below is the 2012 ODAC Softball Preseason Poll. For more information, visit any of the participating schools’ websites, or go to the ODAC’s home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don’t forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook by clicking HERE. You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter by clicking HERE.
|2012 ODAC SOFTBALL
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
|1. Virginia Wesleyan (7)||77 pts.|
|2. Eastern Mennonite (2)||65 pts.|
|3. Bridgewater||57 pts.|
|4. Guilford||54 pts.|
|5. Roanoke (1)||52 pts.|
|6. Lynchburg||43 pts.|
|7. Randolph||38 pts.|
|7. Randolph-Macon||38 pts.|
|9. Emory & Henry||17 pts.|
|10. Sweet Briar||9 pts.|