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MEAC Announces 2013 Softball Preseason Predictions
The three-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion Bethune-Cookman Lady Wildcats were predicted to win the southern division and the 2013 MEAC softball crown, the conference announced on Friday. Delaware State was chosen to finish first in the northern division, as voted on by the conference's head softball coaches and sports information directors.
Norfolk State's Haley Ward was selected as the conference's Preseason Player of the Year while Savannah State's Madison Hedderly earned Preseason Pitcher of the Year accolades.
Haley Ward, a 2012 All-MEAC first team selection, played in 46 games for the Spartans with a .409 batting average in 137 appearances. The two-time MEAC Rookie of the Week led her team with 36 runs, 56 hits, 11 doubles and a .547 slugging percentage a year ago. She added one triple, two homeruns, 21 RBI, 19 walks, three stolen bases and 62 putouts.
Savannah State's Madison Hedderly led the conference with 192 strikeouts and posted a winning record of 18-12, including a career-best 1.92 ERA, in 215.0 innings. Hedderly won MEAC Pitcher of the Week accolades three times and MEAC Player of the Week honors once a year ago. She was also named a 2012 All-MEAC first team selection.
Bethune-Cookman won their third consecutive and eighth MEAC softball title in 2012. The Lady Wildcats concluded the season with a 30-31 mark and were 11-4 in southern divisional play. Bethune-Cookman welcomes 10 letterwinners along with four newcomers to this year's campaign.
Savannah State was picked to finish second in the southern division followed by Florida A&M in third. North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State and North Carolina Central complete the southern division predictions.
Delaware State won the northern divisional title a year ago after posting a 14-3 mark in MEAC play and 25-18-1 record overall. The Lady Hornets will have 11 newcomers join four returnees to this year's team.
Norfolk State was picked to finish second in the northern division followed by Hampton and Coppin State. Howard, Morgan State and Maryland Eastern Shore round out the northern division preseason predictions.
Ward and Hedderly are joined by Jennifer Lindsey (FAMU), Sabrina Edmonds (NCAT), Jax Woodward (NCAT), India Morgan (SSU), Amber Hallman (SSU), Aurelia Gamch (B-CU), Michelle Banuelos-Smith (B-CU), Morgan Boyd (NSU), and Morgan King (UMES) on the 2013 Preseason All-MEAC team.
Conference play begins March 23-24 with all MEAC northern and southern divisional teams in action.
The 2013 MEAC Softball Championship tournament is scheduled for May 9-11, 2013 at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex in Ormond Beach, Florida.
2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preseason Predictions
As voted on by the MEAC's Head Softball Coaches and Sports Information Directors
(First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preseason All-Conference Team
Preseason Player of the Year Preseason Pitcher of the Year