BELTON (January 30, 2013) -- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor softball team has been picked to successfully defend its American Southwest Conference West Division title in the league’s Preseason Coaches and Media Poll. The Cru took 17 of the 21 first-place votes and finished with 140 total points in balloting of West Division head coaches, Sports Information Directors and media members. Hardin-Simmons grabbed two first-place votes and 116 total points for second place and Howard Payne University and Texas Lutheran University tied for third place with one first-place vote and 90 total points. Concordia Texas is the pick to finish fifth with 64 total points, Schreiner University totaled 39 points and the sixth-place pick and Sul Ross State is picked seventh with 29 total points.
Cru right-hander Rebekah Ragsdale was voted ASC West Division Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Ragsdale, a junior from West Orange High School, posted a 14-7 record and 2.47 ERA. She struck out 87 batters and recorded seven shutouts on the season. Howard Payne senior outfielder Katie Poerner was named ASC West Division Preseason Player of the Year.
Defending ASC Champion U.T.-Tyler was picked to win the East Division with 19 first-place votes and 145 total points. The Patriots also swept East Division Preseason Individual honors. Junior third baseman Ashley Endsley was voted East Division Preseason Player of the Year and senior righty Heather Abshire took Preseason Pitcher of the Year honors.
The Cru will be under the direction of head coach Larry Hennig for the third season in 2013. UMHB returns 10 letter winners from a team that finished 26-17 overall and won the ASC West Division with a 20-4 conference record last season. The Cru will open the 2013 season on February 16th with a 1:00 PM home doubleheader against East Division favorite U.T.-Tyler.