Bobcats picked eighth in Conference Carolinas preseason poll

HIGH POINT, N.C. --- Lees-McRae College is picked to finish eighth in the race for the 2011 Conference Carolinas softball championship, announced league officials Thursday with the release of the preseason coaches' poll.

Queens University of Charlotte and defending regular season champion Limestone College are tied atop the poll with 74 points each, as the two programs received six and three first-place votes, respectively. Erskine College is picked to finish third, garnering 65 points and one first-place vote, followed by Mount Olive College (57); Coker College and Pfeiffer University are tied for fifth with 43 points each. Belmont Abbey College is seventh with 39 points, followed by Lees-McRae (27), Barton College (19) and St. Andrews Presbyterian College (nine).

Lees-McRae posted a 12-32 overall record and a 5-13 mark against league opponents in 2010, finishing the season ranked 10th in the conference standings. Returning to lead the Bobcats are seniors Meagan Knowles (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Anna Carter (Hurdle Mills, N.C.), Paige Coleman (Thomasville, N.C.), and Magen West (Whitney, Texas).

Carter posted a solid 2010 campaign for the Bobcats, hitting .293 with two doubles and 10 runs batted in, while West paced the LMC pitching staff with 10 wins, 107 strikeouts, and a 3.47 earned run average.

"I am excited about the upcoming season," said head coach Merritt Yackey. "We have a great infusion of new players with very good skills to go along with a solid core of returning players. Our practices have been very productive, and I believe the players are committed to improving upon last year and having a great season."

Lees-McRae opens its season on Feb. 5 when the Bobcats travel to Raleigh, N.C. to take on Shaw University in a non-conference doubleheader. The first game is slated to start at 1 p.m., followed by game two at 3 p.m.

- LMC -