LOG CABIN DEMOCRAT

The University of Central Arkansas softball team is picked second in the Southland Conference in one preseason poll and third in another.

The Bears, receiving three first-place votes, were picked just behind Sam Houston State, which received five top votes, in the poll of sports information directors. They received one first-place vote among the league’s coaches in being picked behind Sam Houston State and McNeese State.

Six UCA players were honored on the first- or second-team in preseason all-conference selections.

Utility player Melissa Bryant, outfielder Stephanie Lasley, from Mount Vernon-Enola, and pitcher Kelsie Armstrong were named to the first team. Catcher Melanie Bryant, third baseman Tiffany Roby and first baseman Ashley Boswell were named to the second team.

The Bears finished third in the SLC last season and made their first appearance in the postseason tourney.

"I look at preseason awards as a look at the past," said UCA coach David Kuhn. "The preseason all-conference awards are based on the previous year. This season is a new year, so those ladies are hoping to continue to play at a high level. The team ranking is based on the previous year, history, and players returning. I like the direction of our program, but I just want to see our program compete for championships on a yearly basis."

(UCA Sports Information contributed to this report)