Photo Courtesy of Sammy Croft
BANNER ELK, N.C. – Coming off its most wins in a season since 2011, the Lees-McRae College softball team is looking to take more steps forward in 2018. The 2018 Bobcats start their new campaign with a pair of non-conference doubleheaders this weekend. First, LMC will travel to Jefferson City, Tenn. to face Carson-Newman on Saturday before traveling to South Carolina on Sunday to take on Anderson. Saturday's games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., and Sunday's are scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start time.
Preseason Poll – Lees-McRae was picked to finish eighth in the Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches' Poll last month. Sarah Tucker, Kara Cunningham and Noel Cassidy were tabbed as players to watch for the Bobcats this season.
Improved Offense – One of the major reasons for LMC's success last season was its improvement at the plate. As a team, the Bobcats boosted their overall batting average from .220 to .269. The improved average helped LMC score 54 more runs from 2016 to 2017.
About the 2018 Bobcats – Fans will see several familiar faces for Lees-McRae this spring as 12 members from last year's squad are back for 2018. On top of the returners, LMC welcomes eight newcomers into the fray. The incoming class all come to Banner Elk from North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia.
About the Opponents – The Bobcats will have a stiff first weekend of competition. Carson-Newman and Anderson combined for a 77-29 record in 2017 for a winning percentage of .726. C-N, which competed in last season's NCAA Tournament, enters the 2018 season ranked No. 20 in the NFCA/USA Today Coaches Poll.
Series History vs. Opponents – LMC is very familiar with both of its opponents this weekend. The Bobcats, Eagles and Trojans have opened their respective seasons against each other in each of the past three seasons. Lees-McRae's last victory over Anderson came on Jan. 31, 2016, 1-0, while its last win over Carson-Newman came in 2011.