RICHARDSON, Texas — The Eastern New Mexico University softball team has been chosen for fifth place out of seven teams in the Lone Star Conference South Division’s preseason poll, released Tuesday by the conference office.
Defending champion Abilene Christian earned 14 of 18 first-place votes and racked up 122 points to 105 for Angelo State, which garnered the other first-place ballots. Rounding out the poll were Texas Woman’s,k Texas A&M-Kingsville, ENMU, Tarleton State and West Texas A&M.
ENMU put together a solid season in a competitive division last year under coach Armando Quiroz, finishing fifth despite a 13-11 South record. Overall, the Zias were 33-21.
Abilene Christian, which went 42-19 overall (18-4 South) in 2006, returns five starters from last year’s team which reached the NCAA Division II South Central Region tournament.
Texas Woman’s Lindsy Russ-Keller, who went 13-15 with a 2.51 earned run average last season, was the preseason pitcher of the year while Angelo State’s Kandace Kubat (.405 average, 59 runs, 54 stolen bases) was the preseason player of the year.
In the North, Central Oklahoma claimed seven of 15 first-place votes and finished with 91 points to edge out Midwestern State (88) and Southeastern Oklahoma (80). The Indians and Savage Storm split the remaining first-place votes evenly.
Central Oklahoma’s Alli Blake was the division’s preseason pitcher of the year while Northeastern State’s Rachael Christian earned preseason player of the year honors.