DURANT, Okla. — Southeastern Oklahoma State softball will head into the 2018 season picked to finish tied for eighth with Ouachita Baptist, according to the Great American Conference preseason poll.
The Savage Storm is coming off an 18-34 season and a 12-30 GAC performance in 2017 but returns its top two hitters as well as both All-GAC selections from a year ago.
In all the team brings back six of its eight regular position starters and two starting pitchers.
Symphoni Shomo and Destiny Riddle each earned all-conference honors a season ago and pace the Storm offense.
Riddle was the team's leading hitter with a .349 average, 12 doubles, four homers and 33 RBI while Shomo hit .318 with 10 doubles and led the league in steals with 33.
Riddle also returns in the circle, as does Emily Cudd — who won 14 games in 28 starts over 202.2 innings.
The Storm are tied with Ouachita Baptist at 47 points, just four points behind Southern Nazarene in seventh.
Southeastern Arkansas is the preseason favorite with 112 points and six of the 12 first-place votes, followed by Harding with 104 points and three first-place votes in second and Arkansas Tech in third with 102 points and the remaining three first-place votes.
Henderson State is fourth with 87 points, followed by Arkansas-Monticello and East Central. Northwestern Oklahoma State is in 10th at 44 points while Oklahoma Baptist and Southwestern Oklahoma State round out the preseason poll.
Southeastern opens the season on Feb. 2-4 when it hosts the Southeastern Regional Invitational at the Durant Multi-Sports Complex.