Chattanooga senior Emily Coltharp was selected the 2023 Southern Conference softball Preseason Player of the Year the league office announced today. She is also one of five Mocs named to the SoCon First and Second All-Conference Teams.
Chattanooga is picked to finish third in the preseason poll behind Samford and UNCG. The Bulldogs who finished second last season, received four first place votes while the defending SoCon champion Spartans were picked to finish second with three first place votes.
Only five points separated the top three teams with Samford receiving 33, UNCG 31 and Chattanooga had 28.
Furman and Western Carolina had 17 points each, tied for fourth while Mercer was sixth with 15 points and ETSU had six.
Coltharp earned her second SoCon All-Conference First Team nod last season and was named to the SoCon All-Tournament Team. She was the Southern Conference NCAA Woman of the Year nominee in 2022.
She won the SoCon batting title for the second time in her four-year career and the first after a full season. The McDonough, Ga. native is the first Moc to win the batting title in a complete season since 2012. She hit .382 as the primarily leadoff hitter for the squad, registering a league-high 72 hits in 189 at bats. Coltharp's 72 hits were 30th in all of Division I and she posted a team-best 25 multi-hit games. She had 24 stolen bases last year, tied for fifth-most in a season.
Coltharp is joined on the first team by fellow senior, pitcher Brooke Parrott. Parrott was named the SoCon Tournament Most Outstanding Player with a 4-0 record in the championship, a 1.12 ERA and a .163 batting average against her. She was named the Socon Player of the Month for February and a two-time SoCon Student-Athlete of the Month.
Juniors Kailey Snell, Addy Keylon and Kendall Forsythe were all selected to the SoCon All-Conference Second Team.
Samford’s McKenzie Newcombe was named the SoCon Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
UNCG and Western Carolina each had three named to the first team. Chattanooga had two while Samford, Furman and Mercer rounded up the 11-person team with one each. The Mocs and Furman each had three named to the second team and Samford had two. UNCG, WCU, Mercer and ETSU each had one.
Chattanooga led with five selections overall followed by UNCG, Furman and Western Carolina with four apiece. Samford had three, Mercer had two and ETSU had one.
Chattanooga finished third in the regular season in 2022 and put together an incredible come-from-behind victory against top-seeded UNCG in the SoCon Tournament final to claim its 15th Southern Conference Tournament title. UTC advanced to its 12th NCAA Tournament with the victory.
Tickets are on sale online at GoMocs.com and the McKenzie Arena box office for the season as well as the Chattanooga Challenge (Feb. 17-19) and the Frost Classic (Feb. 24-26). The Mocs games through the end of March will be played on the two fields at Warner Park while Frost Stadium undergoes renovations to the playing surface. UTC will return to Frost with the start of SoCon play on April 7 against Western Carolina.
Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. Samford (4) 33
2. UNCG (3) 31
3. Chattanooga 28
Western Carolina 17
6. Mercer 15
7. ETSU 6
Preseason Player of the Year
Emily Coltharp, Chattanooga, Sr.
Preseason Pitcher of the Year
McKenzie Newcomb, Samford, So.
Preseason First-Team All-SoCon
P McKenzie Newcomb, Samford, So.
P Brooke Parrott, Chattanooga, Sr.
C Delaney Cumbie, UNCG, 5th
IF Rebeca Laudino, Mercer, Sr.
IF Maycin Brown, UNCG, Sr.
IF Emily Coltharp, Chattanooga, Sr.
IF Bailey Huneycutt, Western Carolina, 5th
OF Ashlee Lykins, Furman, Jr.
OF Grace Loftin, UNCG, So
OF Brooklynn Brewington, Western Carolina, Sr.
DP Riley Lambert, Western Carolina, Jr.
Preseason Second-Team All-SoCon
P Sierra Tufts, Furman, Jr.
P Jordyn Partain, Samford, So.
C Riley Ludlam, Furman, Sr.
IF Cameron Young, ETSU, So.
IF Samantha Lagrama, UNCG, 5th
IF Gwynnie Hornibrook, Samford, So.
IF Kailey Snell, Chattanooga, Jr.
IF Myra Twitty, Western Carolina, Gr.
OF Caitlin Goldwait, Furman, So.
OF Alyssa Woods, Mercer, Jr.
OF Adison Keylon, Chattanooga, Jr.
DP Kendall Forsythe, Chattanooga, Jr.