(L-R) Julia DiMartino, Amber Bishop and Autumn Bishop were named to the NFCA All-Region team.
Official NFCA Release The Liberty softball team received three honors on the 2018 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) NCAA Division I All-Mid-Atlantic Softball Team.
Sophomore second baseman Amber Bishop and junior pitcher Julia DiMartino were both named to the All-Region first team, while sophomore first baseman Autumn Bishop was voted to the second team.
This is the first time in program history that the Lady Flames have had more than one first team All-Region selection in a single season. Last year, Liberty placed a program-record four players on the All-Region team.
A total of 389 players from 164 different softball programs nationally have been selected to the 2018 NFCA Division I All-Region teams. The all-region teams were voted upon by NFCA member coaches from each region, and all honorees are now eligible to be chosen for one of the three 2018 NFCA Division I All-America teams. The NFCA All-America squads will be announced on May 30.
DiMartino, Amber Bishop and Autumn Bishop were all honored on the All-Region team last year, with Autumn Bishop on the first team, DiMartino on the second team and Amber Bishop receiving third-team mention. DiMartino and Amber Bishop are the third and fourth first-team All-Region selections in program history.
DiMartino, a junior from Brockport, N.Y., has had a record-breaking season for the Lady Flames. A three-time Big South All-Conference first team selection, she was named the Big South Pitcher of the Year in both 2017 and 2018. Entering NCAA Regional play, she is 27-7 with a 1.79 ERA, nine shutouts, six saves, 212 strikeouts at a .202 opponents' batting average. DiMartino has already set single-season program record for wins, shutouts and saves this season, and she is now Liberty's career record holder in victories (66), shutouts (23 – tied) and strikeouts (574). She pitched the Lady Flames to their first Big South tournament title since 2011, going 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 11 strikeouts at the 2018 Big South Softball Championship.
Autumn Bishop, hailing from Murrieta, Calif., is a two-time first team Big South All-Conference selection. She was named 2018 Big South Tournament MVP, helping Liberty claim the conference title by hitting .571 with one double, two homers, seven RBI and four runs scored at the 2018 Big South Softball Championship. For the season, she bats .369 and is currently tied for the national lead with a program-record 25 doubles and seven sacrifice flies. She leads the team with 48 runs scored and is second on the team with 41 RBI. Earlier this season, she went on a 20-game hitting streak that is the third longest by a Liberty softball player in program history.
Amber Bishop, a Murrieta, Calif., native and the 2017 Big South Freshman of the Year, has picked up first team all-conference honors in each of her first two seasons as a Lady Flame. She leads the team with a .378 batting average, 11 homers, 42 RBI and a .674 slugging percentage on the season. She is tied for ninth nationally with 20 doubles. Amber Bishop batted .441 with five homers and 14 RBI in conference play. Overall, she has posted a team-leading 26 multiple-hit games, including six three-hit contests. She provided a big three-run double in the 2018 Big South Softball Championship final, a 5-1 victory over Radford. The sophomore second baseman was one of 25 finalists for the 2017 Schutt Sports/NFCA National Freshman of the Year.
The Lady Flames (47-12) begin their third trip to the NCAA Division I Softball Championship, competing in the Columbia Regional. Liberty will open play against No. 24/24 Hofstra, tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field in Columbia, S.C.
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