With a month to go until the 2018 softball season begins, Lander was selected to finish the Peach Belt Conference slate in sixth place, as voted on by the league coaches.
Thursday's announcement of Lander's sixth-place pick marks the Bearcats' highest preseason conference ranking. Lander tied for sixth with Francis Marion in last year's preseason poll. Prior to 2017, the best preseason mark by the Bearcats was in the 2014 season when Lander was slated eighth.
North Georgia was selected to finish first after receiving nine of 11 first-place votes and a total of 99 points. Flagler received 85 points, including a first-place vote, coming in second behind the Nighthawks. Young Harris claimed one first-place vote and finished third with 83 points, while Georgia College (79) landed in fourth. Columbus State (57), Lander (47), Francis Marion (46), UNC Pembroke (43), USC Aiken (36), Georgia Southwestern (17) and Augusta (13) rounded out this year's preseason poll.
In 2018, Lander returns six starters from last season, while welcoming five newcomers, including a pair of transfers. Among those returning is preseason All-Peach Belt selection Chandler Carey, who led the Bearcats with eight home runs, 25 RBI and a .346 batting average last year.