(L-R) Dot Richardson (Coach of the Year) and Julia DiMartino (Pitcher of the Year) earned major VaSID All-State awards today.
Liberty junior pitcher Julia DiMartino and Head Coach Dot Richardson received major awards today, as the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) University Division All-State Softball Team was announced. Additionally, the Lady Flames tied a program record with six All-State players.
DiMartino was named VaSID State Pitcher of the Year, the first Lady Flame to earn the award. She also received Big South and ECAC Pitcher of the Year honors this season. Back-to-back Big South Coach of the Year Richardson was voted the VaSID State Coach of the Year, the first Liberty head coach to win the award since Paul Wetmore in 2006.
Liberty led all teams with six All-State mentions, including four on the first team and two on the second team. The 2017 Lady Flames also placed six players on the All-State team. James Madison, Longwood and Radford followed in second place, with four All-State players each.
Liberty's first-team selections included sophomore first baseman Autumn Bishop, sophomore second baseman Amber Bishop, DiMartino and senior outfielder Tori Zavodny. Freshman outfielder Madison Via and junior shortstop Sarah Robertson were named to the second team.
Zavodny (2015, 2017, 2018) and DiMartino (2016-18) have tied the program record with three career All-State awards, joining Stacy Radulovich (1996-98), Jessica Moore (2005-07) and Katie Zavodny (2012-14). DiMartino is the first Liberty player since Radulovich to earn All-State honors as a freshman, sophomore and junior, while the Bishop twins join Radulovich as the only Lady Flames to earn first-team All-State mention during both their freshman and sophomore seasons.
The Lady Flames have improved their record every year under Richardson, whose staff was named the 2018 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Coaching Staff of the Year. She guided Liberty to a 49-14 overall record, including 18-3 in Big South play. The Lady Flames swept through the Big South Softball Championship before advancing to the NCAA Columbia Regional final with wins over No. 24/24 Hofstra and No. 11/10 South Carolina. During the final USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll, Liberty received a program-record 17 votes.
DiMartino, a two-time Big South Pitcher of the Year and three-time first-team all-conference and All-State selection, was named to the NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region first team this season. Hailing from Brockport, N.Y., she went 29-8 with a 1.72 ERA, 10 shutouts, six saves, 230 strikeouts and a .198 opponents' batting average. She set single-season program records for wins, shutouts and saves and is already Liberty's career record holder in victories (68), shutouts (24) and strikeouts (592) with one year remaining.
A native of Murrieta, Calif., Autumn Bishop is a two-time all-conference and NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region selection. She hit .365 for the season and ranked second in the nation with a program-record 25 doubles while also tying for the national lead with a program-record seven sacrifice flies. She went on a 20-game hitting streak, the third longest hitting streak in program history. Bishop was named the Big South Softball Championship MVP, batting .571 with seven RBI at the conference tournament.
Also from Murrieta, 2017 VaSID State Rookie of the Year Amber Bishop repeated as an all-conference and NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region selection this year, making the All-Region first team. Bishop tied her sister for the team lead with a .365 batting average, while also recording 27 multiple-hit games and 12 multiple-RBI contests. She finished the season tied for eighth in the nation in doubles (21), also finishing the year ranked 20th overall nationally with 76 hits.
A Concord, N.C., product, Zavodny wrapped up her career as just the second player in program history to earn four Big South All-Conference honors. Zavodny was among the league leaders in several offensive categories when she sustained a knee injury against Campbell in mid-March. She returned for the end of the season, batting .330 overall. Despite missing nearly half the year, she ranked second in the Big South with four triples.
Via, hailing from Roanoke, Va., received Big South All-Conference first team mention as a freshman. She played her best down the stretch, batting .529 (18-for-4) with 10 runs scored and a .610 on-base percentage in the last 14 games of the regular season. In conference play, she hit .407 (6th in Big South) with a .484 on-base percentage. Overall, she hit .297 and tied for the team lead with 18 stolen bases.
Robertson, a Panama City, Fla., native, has been named to the second team all-conference and all-state teams each of the last two years. She batted .311 on the season, ranking third on the team in doubles (16), RBI (37), runs scored (35), on-base percentage (.402) and stolen bases (15). Robertson tied for fourth in the Big South in doubles while finishing third in the conference with 119 assists. She scored a program-record four runs against Campbell, March 18.
James Madison received the two remaining major awards, as senior third baseman Morgan Tolle was voted VaSID State Player of the Year and 2018 CAA Rookie of the Year Payton Buresch was tabbed as VaSID State Rookie of the Year.
2018 VaSID All-State University Division Softball Team First Team C – Kaylynn Batten, Jr., Longwood 1B – Autumn Bishop, So., Liberty 2B – Amber Bishop, So., Liberty SS – Marissa Gagliano, R-Jr., Radford 3B – Morgan Tolle, Sr., James Madison OF – Allison Davis, Sr., Virginia OF – Kate Gordon, So., James Madison OF – Tori Zavodny, Sr., Liberty UT/DP – Odicci Alexander, So., James Madison P – Payton Buresch, Fr., James Madison P – Julia DiMartino, Jr., Liberty P – Sydney Gay, Jr., Longwood
Second Team C – Kylee Lopez, Jr., Norfolk State 1B – Jess Curbeira, Jr., George Mason 2B – Destiny Martinez, So., Longwood SS – Sarah Robertson, Jr., Liberty 3B – Talia Douglas, Fr., Radford OF – Shelby DesChamps, Jr., Norfolk State OF – DaSha Hill, Jr., Hampton OF – Madison Via, Fr., Liberty UT/DP – Carrie Eberle, So., Virginia Tech P – Sydney Backstrom, Fr., Longwood P – Kayla Huffman, Jr., Radford P – Abby Morrow, Sr., Radford
VaSID Player of the Year – Morgan Tolle, Sr., James Madison VaSID Pitcher of the Year – Julia DiMartino, Jr., Liberty VaSID Coach of the Year – Dot Richardson, Liberty VaSID Rookie of the Year – Payton Buresch, James Madison