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March 26, 2007

Little East Conference preseason diamond polls released

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Little East Conference pre-season baseball and softball coaches' polls have been announced, and Plymouth State University was picked as a lower division team in both sports. The votes were cast by the conference's head coaches, and the polls were released by LEC Commissioner William M. Moore.

The Panther baseball team, which tied for seventh in last year's LEC race, was picked in the basement in this year's preseason poll. The University of Southern Maine, last year's regular season co-champion with Keene State College, was picked to win this year's title on the strength of six first-place votes and 48 points, while Eastern Connecticut State University, last spring's third place team in the regular season and LEC tournament champion, received the other two top votes and finished runner-up in the poll with 43 points.

Keene State (38 points) finished in the third spot in the baseball poll, with Rhode Island College (30) edging out the University of Massachusetts Boston (26) for fourth place. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (14) and Western Connecticut State University (14) tied for sixth, with PSU (9) rounding out the poll.

The Panther softball team, which finished in seventh place a year ago, was voted to end up in the same spot again this spring. Defending regular season and tournament champion Rhode Island College was picked to repeat, receiving six first-place votes at 48 points, while Keene State was not far behind, getting the other two top votes and 44 points.

Western Connecticut earned the third spot in the poll with 36 points, with Eastern Connecticut (27) edging out Southern Maine (24) for the fourth position. UMass Dartmouth (19), Plymouth State (17) and UMass Boston (7) took up the bottom three spots in the poll.

The LEC softball tournament is scheduled for the first week in May, with the baseball tourney the second week in May. The conference champions in both sports receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The complete Little East Conference baseball and softball preseason poll results are listed below:

2007 LEC Baseball Pre-Season Poll
1. Southern Maine (6)           48
2. Eastern Connecticut (2)    43
3. Keene State                      38
4. Rhode Island College        30
5. UMass Boston                   26
T-6. UMass Dartmouth          14
T-6. Western Connecticut     14
8. Plymouth State                  9

(first-place votes in parentheses)

2007 LEC Softball Pre-Season Poll
1. Rhode Island College (6)   48
2. Keene State (2)                 44
3. Western Connecticut         36
4. Eastern Connecticut           27
5. Southern Maine                  24
6. UMass Dartmouth              19
7. Plymouth State                  17
8. UMass Boston                    7

(first-place votes in parentheses)

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