CRUSADERS EARN TOP SPOT IN CONFERENCE PRE-SEASON COACHES POLL
Thursday, January 24, 2013
CRUSADERS EARN TOP SPOT IN CONFERENCE PRE-SEASON COACHES POLL

High Point, N.C.--North Greenville enters the 2013 season looking to continue its recent success. The Crusaders made an immediate impact in 2012 scoring the leagues regular season title with an impressive 18-4 record in their inaugural season in Conference Carolinas.

The Crusaders return twelve players from a team that placed second in the leagues post-season tournament, including junior Rachel Glazebrook who was the team’s only All-Conference selection in 2012. Glazebrook led the Crusaders with a .395 average at the dish with three homeruns and 17 RBI. Sarah Armstrong also returns to the lineup as NGU’s biggest offensive threat with 23 RBI and 25 runs scored.

Rachel Glazebrook also returns as North Greenville’s leader on the mound posting a 1.59 ERA in 153.2 innings pitched. Glazebrook was 15-6 on the season with 205 strikeouts and just 70 walks. Cassi Carpenter also returns to cement a solid rotation for Sarah Hall’s squad. Carpenter was 6-5 in 2012 but was solid with a 2.04 ERA in 61.2 innings of work.

Mount Olive returns three pitchers and six starting position players – including the Trojans’ entire infield from last year’s squad, which surpassed the 30-win mark and won the Conference Carolinas East Division. The Trojans were 31-17 in 2012 and posted a 17-5 mark in conference play.

Mount Olive returns three All-Conference Carolinas players: sophomore shortstop Jennifer Jones, junior third baseman Kalie Smith and sophomore pitcher Lauren Smith. Jones batted .345 with 21 runs batted in, tied for third most among returning players. Kalie Smith recorded a .914 fielding percentage with 47 assists after moving to third base and helped spark the Trojan offense with five home runs. Lauren Smith was a two-time Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Week, posting a 16-6 record with four saves, a 2.02 earned run average and 124 strikeouts. Returning players combined for 22 of Mount Olive’s 29 home runs last year, the most by the Trojans since belting 35 homers in 2008.

King College became Conference Carolinas’ Cinderella story last season after sweeping through the conference tournament last season to win the tournament championship as a first-year member and No. 6 seed. Prospects are positive for the Lady Tornado as they return many of its contributing members in 2013 including star pitcher Hannah Light who was second in overall wins (19) and earned run average (1.53).

All-Conference selections sophomore shortstop Christina Melcher and junior catcher/outfielder Fallon Thomas combined for nine home runs and 71 runs batted in last season and will shore up the middle of the Lady Tornado lineup once again. King loses only three starters from last season and adds much depth in its incoming freshman class.

Rounding out the softball preseason poll 4-11 was: Erskine, Limestone, Queens, Coker, Belmont Abbey, Lees-McRae & Pfeiffer (tied), and Barton respectively.