Following the conclusion of the 2016 season, Alan York from LFSN was able to catch up with Liberty Softball Head Coach Dot Richardson for an interview.
The Liberty softball team continued its rise, with a record-setting 2016 campaign. The Lady Flames went 31-28 overall, placing third in the Big South standings with a program-record 16 conference wins, going 16-8. Liberty broke its previous program mark of 13 Big South wins, set in 2010.
The Lady Flames got off to a 5-0 start to conference play, tying the program record for longest unbeaten streak to start Big South play.
Liberty had 12 freshmen on its roster, the most freshmen in a single season in program history. A total of 10 freshmen made at least one start this season. For the second year in a row, Liberty led all conference schools in members on the Big South All-Freshman team, with three.
Pitching was a key to Liberty's success, as the Lady Flames finished with the third-best ERA in the Big South, an even 3.00. Liberty also led the Big South with 12 shutouts and a program single-season-record 377 strikeouts. The previous record of 373 was set in 2010.
Freshman Julia DiMartino made an immediate impact, being named to the Big South All-Conference first team. She is the second Lady Flame all-time to be named first team all-conference as a freshman, joining Ali Thompson (2001). DiMartino set new program freshman records with 17 wins (17-12), a conference-best seven shutouts and 187 strikeouts, while tying a program record with two no-hitters.
For the second year in a row, Liberty split doubleheaders at Virginia and Virginia Tech. Liberty was the first team to beat Virginia Tech at Tech Softball Park, as Stephanie Marlowe tossed a three-hitter in a 2-1 win on March 30. DiMartino pitched a two-hitter at Virginia on April 20, as Liberty downed the Cavaliers, 1-0.
DiMartino and fellow freshman Chase Cassady were both among the top three in the Big South in strikeouts per seven innings, with DiMartino striking out 187 and Cassady registering 125 strikeouts
Jaclyn Amader was voted to the Big South All-Conference second team as a freshman outfielder. She led the team with a .315 batting average, while also posting a team-high five three-hit games. Amader was also among the league leaders in doubles, with 12.
Tori Zavodny continued to blaze the basepaths, stealing 29 bases to tie for second in the Big South. She also led the league with five triples, also finishing in the top five in the conference in runs scored. Zavodny is the third player in program history with back-to-back 20-steal games, twice being named to the Big South All-Conference honorable mention team.
Sarah Robertson was named to the Big South All-Freshman team. She split the season between the middle infield positions. She hit .302, ranking second on the team in batting average, runs scored (35), triples (4) and stolen bases (9). Robertson posted 12 multiple-hit games.
Sophomore Alexia Taylor, the 2015 Big South Freshman of the Year, had a strong sophomore campaign behind the plate. She hit .296 with a team-high 12 doubles and 31 RBI, also throwing out 24 potential basestealers. She is one of just four Liberty players all-time to reach 100 career hits as a sophomore.
Senior Kassidy McCoy led the Lady Flames with six homers, also setting a career high with 28 RBI. She drove in the winning run in one-run victories over Lamar, Virginia and Gardner-Webb. McCoy was named to the 2016 Big South All-Academic Team.
The Lady Flames posted two 3-0 series sweeps of Big South teams this year, opening the conference schedule by sweeping Winthrop and closing the regular season with a sweep of Gardner-Webb.
In the closing series of the regular season, Liberty held Gardner-Webb to just one run. DiMartino tossed her second no-hitter of the season in the series opener, a 1-0 win. Redshirt senior Chandler Ball then pitched her seventh career shutout, a 4-0 win over the Runnin' Bulldogs in the regular-season finale.
Like Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Instagram