LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A trio of Virginia Wesleyan University softball players were listed to the Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association National (NFCA) Division III Player of the Year Watch List for the 2018 season. Hanna Hull, Cassetty Howerin and Kiersten Richardson were all mentioned after each player demonstrated terrific performances last year.
Hull is coming off a spectacular freshman campaign, setting numerous school and conference records. The left-handed hurler finished with a 32 wins and an ERA of just .51, topping all Division III pitchers and shattering the previous ODAC records. Hull also set a conference record for strikeouts in a season (372), shutouts (15) and tied the record for saves (5). Her efforts paid off as she was awarded the title of NFCA Player of the Year as well as the Division III Freshman of the Year. This season, Hull has already made the Fast Pitch News Preseason All-America list.
Howerin has proved that she is a force to be reckoned with, as she earned her second First Team All-America spot in as many years in 2017. The Dover, Del. native had a tremendous year at the plate, batting .434 and bumping her career average to .455. Howerin has knocked in 159 RBI in her career, topping the Virginia Wesleyan charts and sitting her just 32 behind the ODAC all-time record. One of her top moments came in the final game of the National Championship as her double knocked in the sole run of the contest, giving the Marlins a 1-0 victory. Howerin joins Hull as one of 45 Preseason All-Americans.
Richardson was a menace for other teams on the base paths in 2017, stealing 64 bags, which topped all of Division III (this number was also the third-most in DIII history). She also reached home plate more than any other player in VWU history, setting a new school record for runs scored with 68. The now senior was not just a base runner though as she also was tied for the ninth-most hits in the country (69) as well as 11th-most doubles (18). Due to her efforts, Richardson was named to the NFCA All-America Third Team as well as the All-Atlantic Region First Team.
Only four members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference were listed, with Makayla Carver out of Guilford joining the three Marlins.
The defending national champion softball squad kicks off its season on Feb. 17 as it hosts Meredith College for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.