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Cajuns named preseason favorite in Sun Belt

Posted at 2:58 PM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 15:58:41-05

NEW ORLEANS (PRESS RELEASE) – Louisiana sweeps the top Sun Belt Conference softball preseason recognitions heading into the 2019 season with the Ragin’ Cajuns tabbed the favorite to win the regular-season title, junior shortstop Alissa Dalton selected Preseason Player of the Year and junior pitcher Summer Ellyson tabbed Preseason Pitcher of the Year in a vote by the league’s head coaches.

Louisiana, ranked 15th in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and 18th in the Softball Top 25, garnered 98 points and eight first-place votes to grab the top spot. Texas State and Troy each received one first-place vote with the Bobcats coming in second with 88 points and the Trojans close behind in third with 82 points.

Dalton is back after earning Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year honors last season. She enters her second season at Louisiana as one of the toughest to strikeout and sure-handed shortstops in the country. In 2018, Dalton ranked in the top 15 nationally with just seven strikeouts in 217 plate appearances. Defensively, she committed only eight errors in 189 chances. Dalton was the Cajuns’ top run producer and recorded a hit in 40 of 55 games. The Cypress, Texas, native was first-team pick on the All-Sun Belt and National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Central Region teams.

Ellyson returns as the conference’s only 20-game winner from a season ago. In the circle, she was 23-10 with a 1.53 earned run average. Ellyson ranked in the top 30 nationally in wins and fewest hits allowed (15) and wins and in the top 40 in ERA and total strikeouts (220). She was the Sun Belt leader in opposing batting average (.176) and yielded three earned runs or less in 30 of 33 starts. Ellyson had a hand in nine shutouts (5 solo, 4 combined) and recorded at least five strikeouts in 24 of 39 appearances. The Lafayette, La., native also earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors and was a NFCA All-Central Region second-team selection.

Dalton and Ellyson headline a preseason team that features 13 All-Sun Belt selections (nine first team and four second team) from a year ago.

The 20th season of Sun Belt softball gets underway on Thursday, Feb. 7 with all 10 teams in action over the opening weekend. The 2019 Sun Belt Softball Championship is set for May 8-11 at the Bobcat Softball Stadium in San Marcos, Texas.

Preseason Coaches’ Poll
First-place votes in parentheses

1. Louisiana (8) – 98
2. Texas State (1) – 88
3. Troy (1)- 82
4. UTA – 62
5. Georgia State – 59
6. South Alabama – 57
7. Georgia Southern – 39
8. Coastal Carolina – 27
8. ULM – 27
10. Appalachian State – 11

Preseason All-Sun Belt Team
Summer Ellyson, Louisiana (Jr., P, Lafayette, La.)1
Annie Willis, Troy (So., P, Huntsville, Ala.)1
Lexie Comeaux, Louisiana (Sr., C, Tomball, Texas)
Reagan Wright, UTA (Jr., C, Mansfield, Texas)1
Haleigh Davis, Texas State (Jr., C, Houston, Texas)2
Hailey MacKay, Texas State (Jr., 1B, Leander, Texas)1
Katie Webb, Troy (Jr., 1B, Salem, Ala.)2
Kristin Hawkins, Georgia State (RSr., 2B, Dacula, Ga.)
Kara Gremillion, Louisiana (Sr., 3B, Gonzales, La.)1
Alissa Dalton, Louisiana (Jr., SS, Cypress, Texas)*1
Jayden Mount, ULM (Jr., SS, Longview, Texas) 2
Courtney Dean, Coastal Carolina (So., OF, Indian Trail, N.C.)1
Sydney McKay, ULM (Sr., OF, Pearland, Texas)1
Laura Curry, UTA (Sr., OF, Temecula, Calif.)1
Jenny Dodd, Appalachian State (Sr., DP/C, Mocksville, N.C.)2

Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year
Alissa Dalton, Louisiana (Jr., SS, Cypress, Texas)*1

Sun Belt Preseason Pitcher of the Year
Summer Ellyson, Louisiana (Jr., P, Lafayette, La.)1

12018 First Team All-Sun Belt selection
22018 Second Team All-Sun Belt selection
*2018 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year