From Williams Baptist College
The NAIA released the preseason top 25 national poll this week, and the Lady Eagles from Williams Baptist College found themselves ranked 14th. The team ended the 2012 season after going 2-1 at the NAIA National Tournament in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The 14th ranking is the highest preseason ranking in school history, and it is the second straight season the Lady Eagles will begin the year in the top 25.
"It means a lot for us. The girls were hoping for a preseason top 15 and we got that. It is a catch-22 because you want to be proud of that, but you also want to be humble about it as well. But the girls deserve it," said Head Coach Eric Newell.
The Lady Eagles return two All-Americans from a season ago. Senior pitcher Karisa Hendrix of Cherokee Village, Ark., was voted second team All-American and senior outfielder Felicia Woodard of Corning, Ark., was selected to the honorable mention squad.
"Karisa and Felicia are our leaders and they have known nothing but conference championships. They want to finish their careers with another trip to the National Tournament," said Newell.
Hendrix and sophomore Shelby Anderson led a pitching staff that finished first in the NAIA in team earned run average a year ago. Anderson led the country in ERA, and Hendrix finished third in the NAIA in wins and fourth in strikeouts.
"We were very happy going 2-1 at nationals a year ago, but the experience has made us even hungrier to return. We want to go to the elite eight, if not win the whole thing," said Newell.
The team will open its season against Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Miss., on February 9. The doubleheader will start at noon.