SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference honored Elon softball outfielders Tomeka Watson and Carleigh Nester by naming the duo to its 2013 preseason all-conference teams, the league office announced today, Jan. 30. The Phoenix was selected to finish fifth by the league’s coaches in the preseason coaches poll with 32 points.
Watson earned her third straight first-team preseason selection after leading the team in a number of categories, including home runs (seven), batting average (.371), hits (56) and stolen bases (27). The senior from Jackson, Ga., also had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and earned first-team All-SoCon honors last season.
Nester was a second-team preseason selection for the second consecutive year. The Kernersville, N.C., native was the only Phoenix player to start all 51 games last season and ranked second to Watson in many offensive categories. The junior hit .338 on the year with 53 hits and led the squad with 10 doubles and two triples.
Georgia Southern, last season’s regular season and tournament champion, tallied seven first place votes for a total of 63 points as the SoCon preseason favorite. Appalachian State senior Allie Cashion was named the preseason Player of the Year while GSU’s Sarah Purvis was named the preseason Pitcher of the Year.
The Phoenix will open its 2013 season in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Feb. 8, versus Ohio State in the opening game of the Red and Black Showcase Tournament hosted by the University of Georgia. That game is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m.
Team (First Place Votes) Points 1. Georgia Southern (7) 63 2. Chattanooga (2) 58 3. College of Charleston 50 4. Appalachian State 38 5. Elon 32 6. UNCG 31 7. Western Carolina 22 8. Samford 20 9. Furman 10
Preseason Player of the Year
Allie Cashion, Outfield, Appalachian State
Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Sarah Purvis, Georgia Southern
Preseason First-Team All-Conference
P Sarah Purvis, Georgia Southern P Stephanie Saylors, College of Charleston C Madison Dickey, Samford 1B Kasey Tydingco, Chattanooga 2B Sara Poteat, Chattanooga SS Lizzy Vaughn, College of Charleston 3B Kelsey Hodgson, College of Charleston OF Allie Cashion, Appalachian State OF Cheyenne Willis, Chattanooga OF Tomeka Watson, Elon DP Shemekia Scotton, Western Carolina UT Aisha Figueroa, UNCG
Preseason Second-Team All-Conference
P Taylor Deason, Chattanooga P Hope Klicker, College of Charleston C Sarah Warnock, Appalachian State 1B Eileen Horsmon, UNCG 2B Meghan Smith, Appalachian State SS Abby Adams, Samford 3B Sarah Beth Roberts, Chattanooga OF Stephanie Rieck, Chattanooga OF Carleigh Nester, Elon OF Nikki Legg, Furman DP Lauren Collier, Furman UT Hope Klicker, College of Charleston