Liberty has been voted to place seventh in the Big South Conference preseason softball poll, as released today. The preseason rankings were voted on by the league's head coaches. The Lady Flames are coming off of a 2012 campaign which saw them place sixth in the conference with a 9-12 Big South record. Liberty placed two players, Meredith Crisante and Katie Zavodny, on the Big South All-Conference team last season. This season, 20th-year head coach Paul Wetmore will lead a roster comprised solely of freshmen, sophomores and juniors. In addition to Zavodny, 2012 VaSID All-State second team catcher Kelby Allen and shortstop Sammi Shivock are a pair of top returners. The 2013 Lady Flames welcome a talented and deep freshman class of nine student-athletes. Defending Big South tournament champion Coastal Carolina was predicted to win the 2013 conference crown, receiving seven first-place votes and 78 points. Charleston Southern, the runner up in the 2012 Big South Softball Championship, got the remaining two first-place votes and 68 points. Campbell (58 points) and conference newcomer Longwood (47) were voted third and fourth, respectively. Radford, four-time defending conference regular-season champion, was picked fifth with 44 points. Gardner-Webb (38), Liberty (35), Winthrop (19) and Presbyterian College (18) are listed sixth through ninth, in that order. Coastal Carolina sophomore Kory Hayden, the 2012 Big South Co-Freshman of the Year, was voted the 2013 Big South Preseason Player of the Year. A two-time reigning Big South Pitcher of the Year, senior Jackie Jenkins of Radford was tabbed Preseason Pitcher of the Year for the second year in a row. Liberty begins the 2013 regular-season schedule by competing in the KSU Classic, hosted by Kennesaw State in Woodstock, Ga., from Feb. 16-17. The 2013 Big South Softball Championship will be hosted by Winthrop at Terry Field in Rock Hill, S.C., from May 9-12. The four-day tournament will determine the Big South's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
2013 Big South Softball Preseason Poll Team (First-place votes) - Points 1. Coastal Carolina (7) - 78 2. Charleston Southern (2) - 68 3. Campbell - 58 4. Longwood - 47 5. Radford - 44 6. Gardner-Webb - 38 7. Liberty - 35 8. Winthrop - 19 9. Presbyterian College - 18
2013 Preseason Player of the Year: Kory Hayden, Coastal Carolina 2013 Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Jackie Jenkins, Radford
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