UL Softball Picked To Win Sun Belt Conference Title
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun softball team was picked to win another Sun Belt Conference league title, receiving eight first-place votes by the league’s nine head coaches, as announced by the conference office on Monday.
Louisiana received eight of nine first-place votes, and 80 total points, to easily finish as the top team in the preseason.
UL has won ten of the last 11 regular season and postseason championships.
The complete Preseason Sun Belt Coaches' Poll is below:
1. Louisiana-Lafayette - 80 (8)
2. South Alabama - 64
3. Florida Atlantic - 62
4. FIU - 49
5. Troy - 40
5. WKU - 40 (1)
7. North Texas - 29
8. Louisiana-Monroe - 26
9. Middle Tennessee - 15
That's pretty close to my preseason projections. I have Louisiana picked to win the league, followed by FAU, South Alabama, WKU, Troy, North Texas, ULM, and Middle Tennessee.
Meanwhile, UL senior outfielder Christi Orgeron was named as the Preseason Player of the Year.
This was a no-brainer. Orgeron hit .414, with 23 homers, and 101 rbi's a season ago, making her only the fourth player in NCAA history to drive in over 100 runs.
Orgeron also led the SBC in slugging percentage (.886), and recorded the second most hits (87) and total bases (186) in Ragin’ Cajuns single season history. She ranked third in the NCAA in home runs per game (0.37) and second in total home runs, second in runs per game (1.21), fifth in slugging percentage (.886), and
21st in doubles per game (0.32). She was named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA First Team All-Region, was All-American Third Team, and helped team USA to a gold medal in the Pan-American Games in October 2011.
South Alabama sophomore Hannah Campbell was tabbed as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
This one, I have a problem with.
Nothing against Campbell, who is a really good pitcher that will give hitters fits for the next three years. She was name the Freshman of the Year in the conference a year ago, with a 19-7 record, and a 2.51 era, and I suspect that those numbers will improve this year.
But uh...hey people....Ashley Brignac is still in the league!
I mean, am I missing something here!?!?!?
Brignac, now a senior, was the league's Pitcher of the Year last season, after compiling a 32-7 record, with a 1.50 era.
With a number of quality arms at their disposal, the Cajuns may not pitch Brignac as much this year, but taking into account what she did last year, the numerous awards that she's won, including an Academic All-America honor, and how much attention she's brought to the conference over her career, it's just really strange to me that she not only wasn't selected Preseason Pitcher of the Year, but she wasn't even named one of the two pitchers on the Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team.
I mean, that's just mind-boggling to me!
The complete 2012 Preseason All-Sun Belt team is below:
Taylor Fawbush (Florida Atlantic, Junior, P)
Hannah Campbell (South Alabama, Sophomore, P)
Karavin Dew (Western Kentucky, Junior, C)
Hayden Gann (Troy, Senior, 1B)
Lisa Johnson (North Texas, Senior, 2B)
Nerissa Myers (Louisiana, Junior, SS)
Nikki Hollett (Troy, Senior, 3B)
Ashley McClain (FIU, Senior, OF)
Katie Smith (Louisiana, Senior, OF)
Brittany Fowler (South Alabama, Junior, OF)
Christi Orgeron (Louisiana, Senior, U)
Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Hannah Campbell, South
Preseason Player of the Year: Christi Orgeron, Louisiana
Nice to see Katie Smith get a preseason honor. It's hard for slappers to get a lot of recognition, because they don't put up the sexy power numbers, but Smith hit a .352 last year, and I expect her to approach .400 this year.
Hey!...bravo!...they got Nerissa Myers right!
I make no bones about the fact that leaving Myers off the All-Sun Belt Conference team last year was a huge mistake. She hit a .372, and led the conference in runs scored, with 77. Plus, she's by far the best defensive shortstop in the conference.
Look for Myers to add some power to her game this year, and if all goes according to play, she could become an All-American candidate.
I think UL junior catcher Sarah Draheim deserves more love.
I don't have a big problem with WKU's Karavin Dew being named the catcher on the Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team. After all, it's hard to argue with a .341 average, even if her power numbers (three homers, 19 rbi's) weren't stout.
I can make a solid case for Draheim, however. Last year, she hit a .296, with six homers, and 52 rbi's. That's double the homers of Dew, and almost triple the rbi's. Plus, she made five less errors.
Draheim's problem is that she plays with so many great players, so she tends to get overshadowed. That, and people like spreading the wealth around a little bit, and quite frankly, coaches and media get tired of voting for UL softball players all the time.
Of course, these projections, as is the case with mine, don't mean anything.
All the teams, and all the players will get to prove things on the field, beginning this weekend.
It's time to play softball!
The UL softball team open up their 2012 regular season schedule this weekend, as they host the 26th Louisiana Classics Tournament, at Lamson Park.