ROCK HILL, S.C.– Catawba has been chosen first in the South Atlantic Conference's baseball annual preseason poll, it was announced today by the league office. It is the fifth consecutive year the Catawba Indians have received the top spot, as the head coaches gave Catawba eight first-place votes and a total of 107 points.
Tusculum was voted No. 2 in the poll with 90 points and one first-place vote, while Newberry was voted No. 3 with one first-place vote and 86 points. Carson-Newman received one first-place vote and came in fourth with 78 points. Lincoln Memorial and Wingate tied for No. 5 with 74 points. Lenior -Rhyne was voted No. 7 with 70 points. Mars Hill took the No. 8 spot with 39 points. Anderson followed with 38 points at No. 9 ahead of Coker, who was voted No. 10 with 37 points. Brevard rounded out the poll with 19 points.
The South Atlantic Conference also announced its preseason All-SAC team. Newberry's Jeff Sneed was named first-team catcher, while Chance Bowden from Catawba earned first team honors at first base. At second base was Zack Finchum from Tusculum, at shortstop was Jimmy Rice from Carson-Newman and at the hot corner was Derek Olenchuck from Newberry.
Earning first team outfield honors were Daymon Totherow from Newberry and Carson-Newman's Ryan Addington and Cade Snapp.
Newberry's Zack Kelly was voted first team starting pitcher as Russ Weiker from Catawba and Ethan Elliott from Lincoln Memorial also received first team honors.
Catawba's Malachi Hanes was voted first-team designated hitter, while Bryan Blanton from Catawba was named first-team relief pitcher.
The South Atlantic Conference baseball season gets underway on Wednesday Feb. 1. The 2017 Pilot Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship is slated for April 27-May 1 at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tenn.
Rk Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Catawba (8) 107
2. Tusculum (1) 90
3. Newberry (1) 86
4. Carson-Newman (1) 78
5. Lincoln Memorial 74
7. Lenoir-Rhyne 70
8. Mars Hill 39
9. Anderson 38
10. Coker 37
11. Brevard 19