VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Virginia Wesleyan University softball team finishes its season exactly where it started, at No. 1 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll. The squad spent every week of the 2018 season atop the poll and, dating back to last season, have been ranked No. 1 for 21-straight weeks.
It was quite a year for the Marlins as they not only defended their title as Division III National Champions, but did so in record-breaking fashion. The steam finished the season with a record of 55-3, breaking the DIII record for most wins in a season, which VWU set last year with 54 victories. The schedule was no laughing matter either as the Marlins competed in 20 games against top-25 opponents, coming out victorious in 18 of them.
A slew of things helped the Marlins achieve such a feat this year. Offensively, Virginia Wesleyan was among the best as they averaged 6.2 runs per game and scored at least one run in all 58 games played. Leading the way was three-time All-American Cassetty Howerin who became the Division III leader in career walks (136) and moved up to sixth all-time for career RBI (221).
Even more impressive than the offense may have been the plat on the defensive side. Reigning Player of the Year Hanna Hull dominated from the circle this season, leading the country in strikeouts with a career-best 376. The sophomore also tied the Division III record for wins in a season (40) with five of them coming during the NCAA Championship in Oklahoma City, Okla. As a team, the Marlins held their opponents scoreless in 20 games this season.
The 2018 VWU softball team was a special bunch with the squad earning eight All-Conference members, the NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player, the NCAA Super Regional Most Outstanding Player and Pitcher as well as the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player. At the helm was also Head Coach Brandon Elliott, who came away with ODAC Coach of the Year honors.