NEW ORLEANS – The Coastal Carolina University softball team was picked to finish tied for fourth in the 2020 Sun Belt preseason coaches’ poll. Seniors Courtney Dean and Makiya Thomas were named to the preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team.
Head coach Kelley Green‘s team was picked behind perennial conference favorite Louisiana, Troy, and Texas State. The Ragin’ Cajuns took all 10 first-place votes (100 points) as the Trojans followed them with 87 points, the Bobcats added 72, and then Coastal achieved its highest total ever since joining the Sun Belt with 68.
Tied with CCU was UTA (68), followed up by Appalachian State (43), Georgia Southern (38), South Alabama (36), ULM (22), and Georgia State (16).
A two-time All-Sun Belt selection (2018 and 2019), Dean was voted for the third-straight season to the preseason All-Sun Belt team.
In 2020, Dean entered the year after coming off a late-season knee injury that ended her 2019 season. CCU’s left fielder batted .333 with two home runs while knocking in nine RBI. Over her last 14 games, the senior hit her stride with a .450 batting average, two home runs, six doubles, seven RBI, and scored 12 runs.
Tabbed an NFCA All-Region selection in 2018 as a freshman, the Indian Trail, N.C., native became the fifth player under Green’s tutelage to receive that honor and 30th Chant all-time in school history.
In 121 career games, Dean has hit .335 and driven in 84 RBI, and currently is seventh all-time in school history with 30 long balls.
Thomas played in 19 of the 21 games a season ago, where she became the first player in school history to lead the Sun Belt Conference in batting average (.463) and on-base percentage (.532).
The versatile Thomas had four multi-hit games last season, including three three-hit games and a team-best 11-game hitting streak. At the top of the lineup, the Tacoma, Wash., native had three doubles, a triple, knocked in 12 runs, and scored 12 runs of her own.
Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll (first-place votes)
1. Louisiana – 100 (10)
2. Troy – 87
3. Texas State – 72
4. Coastal Carolina – 68
UTA – 68
5. App State – 43
6. Georgia Southern – 38
7. South Alabama – 36
8. ULM – 22
9. Georgia State – 16
Softball Preseason Player of the Year: Alissa Dalton, Louisiana
Softball Preseason Pitcher of the Year: Summer Ellyson, Louisiana
Softball Preseason All-Conference Pitcher: Summer Ellyson, Louisiana
Softball Preseason All-Conference:
Courtney Dean, Coastal Carolina
Makiya Thomas, Coastal Carolina
Mekhia Freeman, Georgia Southern
Kaitlyn Alderink, Louisiana
Ciara Bryan, Louisiana
Alissa Dalton, Louisiana
Jade Gortarez, Louisiana
Raina O’Neal, Louisiana
Julie Rawls, Louisiana
Tara Oltmann, Texas State
Kelly Horne, Troy
Leanna Johnson, Troy
Katie Lively, Troy
Katie Webb, Troy
Korie Kreps, ULM
Jayden Mount, ULM
Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics