UT Tyler Athletics

RICHARDSON, Texas -- The University of Texas at Tyler and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor have been predicted to win the 2011 American Southwest Conference softball division titles, it was announced by the league office on Thursday after a vote of each division’s head coaches, sports information directors and selected media members. UT Tyler's Joey Cronin, Louisiana College’s Rene Schwartzenburg, Howard Payne University’s Ashley Silva and Hardin-Simmons University’s Megann Lewis earned preseason individual honors.

UT Tyler, which went 39-9 overall and 20-4 in league play last season en route to its first East Division title, collected 126 points and six of the 21 possible first-place votes in the annual poll to be the division favorite. Head coach Mike Reed’s Patriots, who won the 2009 ASC title and have advanced to three consecutive NCAA tournaments – including a fifth-place finish in the 2009 National Finals – hit a league-high .333 with 38 home runs last season.

Cronin, a sophomore outfielder, was named ASC East Division Preseason Player of the Year after batting .405 with 13 home runs, 14 doubles, four triples and 48 RBIs. She led the league with 123 total bases and tied for tops in homers.