CSU Softball Picked Seventh in Peach Belt Conference Preseason Poll
Columbus, Ga. -- Columbus State's softball squad has been picked to finish seventh in the annual Peach Belt Conference preseason coaches' poll announced earlier this week. Defending champion North Georgia was the pick of the coaches to win the league title again in 2010.
Columbus State received one vote for third place, one for fourth, two for fifth, two for sixth and four for seventh to finish with 53 points. North Georgia received nine of the 11 first-place votes and garnered 99 points. Francis Marion was second with 72 points, while Augusta State and GCSU were tied for third with 70. Armstrong Atlantic State was fifth (68) and USC Aiken was sixth (67). Flagler, UNC Pembroke, Lander, and Georgia Southwestern rounded out the poll.
CSU head coach Brad Huskisson finds himself in a similar position to baseball coach Greg Appleton in that he will have a lot of new faces to work with in 2010. Huskisson has seven returning player, including three seniors and four juniors. After those players, the majority of the roster is made up of true freshmen with two junior college transfers dotting the mix.
Pitchers Britni McCall (senior), Kristi Bullard (junior) and Jennifer Isasi (junior) return to the circle in 2010. Bullard led the staff in victories (15) and strikeouts (162) last season, but ended the year with a 15-14 record and a 2.56 ERA. Isasi posted a 7-9 record, but did have six saves last year and will also be looking to improve under new pitching coach Jodie Swavely-Brown. McCall has benefitted the most from Swavely-Brown's tutelage so far after showing remarkable improvement in the fall. She posted a 5-7 record with a 4.55 ERA last season and those numbers will need to vastly improve this season if CSU is to make a run at a conference title.
As for position players, seniors Brittney Leverett (shortstop) and Christie Thompson (second base), along with junior third baseman Carrie Jones will bring solid experience to the team. Leverett has seen her production drop from her freshman year but will be looking to improve as a senior. She batted .260 last season with a team-best seven homeruns and 13 doubles, but she drove in only 24 runs on the year. Jones, who missed the first part of the year with a shoulder injury, batted .269 after coming back and was solid at third base. Thompson hit .323 last season with seven doubles, two triples and 20 RBI, but her status for the start of the season is questionable at present due to a shoulder injury. Huskisson also has the services of Jordan Aszman (.203) and Devan Ellis (.158) coming back to outfield and infield posiitions. CSU could start as many as seven f newcomers in the early part of the season.
The Lady Cougars open the season on February 5-7 at the Georgia Southwestern Early Bird Invitational, playing five games in the three-day event.