SALEM, Va. -- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference announced its baseball preseason coaches poll on Friday and Washington and Lee was tabbed fifth by the league coaches.
Lynchburg College sits atop the poll after garnering four first-place votes and 90 total points. Virginia Wesleyan sits in second with 81 points, Randolph-Macon earned three first-place votes and is third with 80 points and is followed closely by Bridgewater, which received one first-place vote and 78 points. W&L, the defending ODAC Champion, follows in fifth with 57 points and one first-place vote. Hampden-Sydney garnered the final first-place vote and sits in sixth place with 56 points, while Guilford (39), Eastern Mennonite (31), Roanoke (26) and Emory & Henry (12) round out the poll.
The Generals captured their first-ever ODAC Championship last season by defeating Virginia Wesleyan, 10-6, in the championship game and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
W&L returns six starting position players from a season ago, as well as three of its top five pitchers in terms of innings pitched. Senior right-hander Chuck Davidson (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier), senior infielder John Ditore (Seattle, Wash./Bishop Blanchet) and junior outfielder Anthony Cardona (Lower Gwynedd, Pa./Chestnut Hill) headline the returnees for W&L.
Ditore, a First Team All-ODAC selection in 2009, hit .307 a year ago with 28 runs scored and nine doubles. Cardona, who was named to the all-conference second team, was second on last year’s squad with a .372 batting average. He was also led the team with 28 RBI and tied for the team lead with three homeruns. Davidson, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the ODAC Tournament last season, posted a 6-3 record with a 3.87 ERA in 13 appearances (12 starts). Opponents hit just .248 against him and he recorded 49 strikeouts against just 21 walks.
W&L is scheduled to open its season on Saturday when it takes on Averett as part of the USA South/ODAC Challenge. First pitch is slated for 2:30 pm, though the location of the game has yet to be determined due to the recent snow and the subsequent field conditions.