By DAVID MCCOLLUM
LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
The University of Central Arkansas begins its softball season this weekend but fans will have to wait awhile to see them at home, where they were 16-4 last season.
The Bears, coming off a record 36-22 season, will open the season in a tournament at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Other teams will be Jackson State, Western Illinois, Valparaiso and Belmont.
The UCA women will play their first 10 games on the road before hosting a tournament, Feb. 21-23.
The Bears, who compiled a 12-8 Southland Conference record last season in making their first appearance in the Southland Conference postseason tournament have a mixture of experience and youth this season. They return six all-conference players and have five seniors, one junior, seven sophomores and nine freshmen on the roster.
The UCA women have six Arkansas players on the roster. They are Stephanie Lasley of Enola, Cicely New of Greenbrier, Tiffany Roby and Ali Seaton of North Little Rock, Jessie Taylor of Bryant and Kelsie Armstrong of Lake Hamilton.
Armstrong, a senior pitcher, will be used extensively this season.
“She is arguably one of the best softball players to ever play here,” said coach David Kuhn. “She gives us a chance to win every time out.”
Armstrong and Lasley are preseason first-team selections as all-conference. Melanie and Melissa Bryant, Roby and Ashley Boswell are second-team selections.
The Bears are picked to finish second and third in the SLC in two different polls.
The Bears have eight teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament last year on their schedule.
(David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)