Arkansas tabbed fourth in preseason SEC softball poll while Hedgecock’s named All Conference


Don’t be surprised if some members of the Arkansas softball team start the season with big old chips on their shoulders.

Despite the Razorbacks being picked fourth in the SEC’s preseason poll and as high as No. 8 nationally, only one Arkansas star was named to the 24-member preseason All-SEC team.

Grad senior Rylin Hedgecock was the lone Arkansas selection of the league’s 13 head coaches despite six  Razorbacks being ranked among Softball America’s and D-1 Softball’s lists of Top 100 college prospects.

“We have some really great depth, some really great athletes and so you are going to see 13 or so (players) get sone solid at bats,” Arkansas head coach Courtney Deifel said of a program that finished 40-19 overall and 14-10 in SEC action last season

Hedgecock hit .335 and had 21 homers and 62 RBIs last season while being named an NFCA first-team All-American for Arkansas, which opens its season Thursday, Feb. 8 against Marshall at 1 p.m. in the Paradise Classic in Boca Raton, Fla.

Softball America ranked Arkansas’ Hannah Gammill as the 40th-best player nationally with Hedgecock (46), Nia Carter (55), Bri Ellis (65) and Reagan Johnson (97) also in the publication’s top 100.

The other three Arkansas players joining Hedgecock (49) in DI Softball’s top 100 are Carter (58),  Ellis (71) and Cylie Halvorson (85).

Hedgecock, Johnson and Iowa transfer Carter have also be named to the USA Softball Player of the Year watchlist.

The Razorbacks are ranked No. 8 nationally in Softball America’s preseason poll, 12th by ESPN/USA Softball and 18th by D1 Softball while the USA Today/NFCA rankings have not yet been released.

Defending SEC regular season and tournament champion Tennessee was tabbed the SEC preseason favorite and had five players named to the team while runner-up Georgia and third place LSU both had four.

Auburn, Florida, Kentucky and Missouri each had two while Arkansas, South Carolina and Texas A&M one  apiece.

Tennessee, which returns 7 of 9 starters from team that led the SEC in scoring last season at 6.97 runs per game,  and Georgia both had six first-place votes.

Florida got the other first-place vote in a poll where coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

The SEC Coaches All-SEC preseason team is supposed to be made up of 21 players, but no ties are broken.

Photo by John D. James

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SEC Preseason Coaches Poll:

1. Tennessee (137)

2. Georgia (136)

3. LSU (106)

4. Arkansas (103)

5. Auburn (100)

6. Alabama (88)

7. Florida (77)

8. Texas A&M (75)

9. South Carolina (68)

10. Kentucky (53)

11. Missouri (28)

12. Ole Miss (24)

13. Mississippi State (19)

• • •

SEC Preseason All-Conference team:

• Rylin Hedgecock, Arkansas

• Maddie Penta, Auburn

• Nelia Peralta, Auburn

• Kendra Falby, Florida

• Skylar Wallace, Florida

• Jayda Kearney, Georgia

• Sydney Kuma, Georgia

• Sara Mosley, Georgia

• Shelby Walters, Georgia

• Erin Coffel, Kentucky

• Stephanie Schnoover, Kentucky

• Sydney Berzon, LSU

• Ciara Briggs, LSU

• Danieca Coffey, LSU

• Taylor Pleasants, LSU

• Alex Honnold, Missouri

• Jenna Laird, Missouri

• Alana Vawter, South Carolina

• McKenna Gibson, Tennessee

• Payton Gottshall, Tennessee

• Kiki Milloy, Tennessee

• Karlyn Pickens, Tennessee

• Zaida Puni, Tennessee

• Julia Cottrill, Texas A&M

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