VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan University softball team has been named the top team of the Atlantic Region in the first release of the NCAA Division III Regional Rankings. The squad currently holds a record of 35-1 and a mark of 13-1 in conference play. This ranking comes in a region that boasts 63 teams up and down the east coast.
It's been a historical start for the softball program, winning its first 35 games and going on a 41-game win streak that dated back to last season. The Marlins have also held Division III's No. 1 ranking for over a year-straight, originally claiming the title week 8 of 2017.
Over the course of the 2018, the squad has had eight wins against ranked opponents, half of which were among the top 10. Virginia Wesleyan currently holds the nation's top win percentage (.972) and is ranked fourth in the country in both shutouts (13) and earned run average (1.24). In the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) the team tops the league in runs scored (258), RBI (231), on-base percentage (.429) and also have struck out he fewest amount of times (104).
A plethora of student athletes have made helped with this year's success. At the plate, the seniors have played a major role in getting runs on the board. Cassetty Howerin and Amy Large have been menaces for other pitchers at the plate, leading the conference in RBI with 40 and 25, respectively. Classmate Kiersten Richardson has excelled as well, leading the team in hits (44) and leading the ODAC in stolen bases (32).
In the circle, defending National Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, Hanna Hull, has not skipped a beat. The Chesterfield, Va. native has racked up a Division III leading 223 punch and 25 victories. Hull also ranks second in the nation in hits allowed per seven innings and fifth for ERA.
This has also been a year of breaking records as the squad have eclipsed multiple ODAC and VWU marks. Howerin recently became the ODAC leader in career walks as well as career RBI. In the same game she earned the ODAC RBI title, the Dover, Del. native also became the University's leading homerun hitter (32) Hull became the conference's all-time leader in career strikeouts in just her second year toeing the rubber.
Softball returns to action with a pair of doubleheaders this weekend. The team squares of in an away battle with Bridgewater at 1 p.m. on Saturday, before competing with Emory & henry at home on Sunday. Sunday's tilts will commence at 12:30 p.m. and is the squad's "Strikeout Cancer Games" which are held in order to benefit the American Cancer Society.