LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Lindsey Wilson College and University of Rio Grande are the preseason softball favorites in the Mid-South Conference, according to the MSC Coaches' Preseason poll released today by the conference.
Lindsey Wilson is projected to win the West Division, while Rio Grande is the favorite in the East Division.
This season marks the first time Mid-South Conference softball will use divisional play. The conference expanded to 10 full-time members in July after Shawnee State University and the University of Virginia's College at Wise joined the league as full members.
Rio Grande received 14 voting points, including two first-place votes from the East Division coaches. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The RedStorm finished 30-23 in 2009, including 17-11 in the MSC in their inaugural season in the conference.
Shawnee State is projected to finish second in the East with 12 voting points, including two of the first-place votes. UVa.-Wise and Pikeville College is tied for third in the preseason poll with 10 voting points each. UVa.-Wise received the final first-place vote.
West Virginia University Tech finished fifth in the balloting with four voting points.
Lindsey Wilson is favored in the West Division with 16 voting points, including four of the five first-place votes.
The Blue Raiders finished 47-14 last season and 22-6 in the MSC to win the program's first-ever regular season title. Lindsey Wilson also captured the MSC Tournament crown.
Campbellsville University is predicted to finish second in the West with 13 voting points and the final first-place vote.
Georgetown College finished third in the preseason poll with 10 voting points, while University of the Cumberlands (6 voting points) and St. Catharine College (5) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The 2011 softball season starts in mid-February with the first conference games scheduled for early March.
The Mid-South Conference Tournament is scheduled to begin the April 25 with a pair of play-in games at host sites. The eight remaining teams advance to the double elimination tournament April 29-30 in Danville, Ky