Shauna Howell, Creative Design
BYU softball was picked to win the West Coast Conference Championship this spring, the league announced Wednesday.

BYU softball was picked to win the West Coast Conference Championship this spring, the league announced Wednesday.

BYU, ranked No. 19 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Preseason Top 25, earned top billing for the fifth-consecutive season after collecting five of the six first-place votes and totaling a maximum 25 points in the poll. Coaches are not able to vote for their own teams.

The defending WCC Champion is coming off a 46-13 (14-1 WCC) record after capturing its 13th-consecutive postseason bid that ended at the NCAA Regional. Sixteen-year head coach Gordon Eakin returns eight starters and six All-WCC players from that squad, including reigning WCC Player of the year Caitlyn Alldredge, along with reigning WCC Freshman of the Year Rylee Jensen. Alldredge and Jensen are joined on the preseason All-WCC team with senior shortstop Alexa Strid, junior catcher Libby Sugg and sophomore pitcher Arissa Paulson. Sugg was also named Wednesday to the 2018 USA Softball College Player of the Year Watch List.

Loyola Marymount and Pacific tied for second in the preseason poll with 19 points each, followed by San Diego, Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara. The Tigers earned the final first-place vote in the poll.

A total of 12 field players were selected to the preseason team due to a tie in voting.

2018 All-WCC Preseason Softball Team

Position players

Nikki Alexander, Saint Mary's, Jr., 2B/SS

Caitlyn Alldredge, BYU, Sr., 3B

Brooke Christensen, LMU, Sr., OF

Ellie Fisher, Santa Clara, Sr., OF

Rylee Jensen, BYU, So., OF

Sydney Lahners, Pacific, Sr., 1B

Hailey Reed, Pacific, So., P/OF

Irma Sanchez, LMU, Sr., C

Hailey Sparacino, Saint Mary's, Sr., UT

Alexa Strid, BYU, Sr., SS

Libby Sugg, BYU, Jr., C

Pitchers

Hannah Bandimere, LMU, Jr., RHP

Arissa Paulson, BYU, So., RHP

Marissa Young, Pacific, Sr., RHP