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2018 Recognized as Liberty Softball's Top Season

October 14, 2020  Lynchburg, Va.   RSS
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The Liberty softball team celebrates its upset over No. 10 South Carolina in the 2018 NCAA Columbia Regional.

The Liberty softball team celebrates its upset over No. 10 South Carolina in the 2018 NCAA Columbia Regional.

Official ASUN Release

In conjunction with each institution's sports information office, the ASUN Conference has announced each member school's top team in softball program history. The 2018 squad has been recognized as Liberty's top softball team, with the 1999, 2007 and 2017 teams each earning honorable mention.

Top Softball Season – 2018
Under the direction of Dot Richardson, the Lady Flames posted a program-record 49 wins (49-14), including 18-3 in Big South play. Liberty earned its first NCAA Regional finals appearance, defeating No. 24 Hofstra and No. 10 South Carolina to start the NCAA Softball Championship. The Columbia Regional was the nation's toughest in terms of combined wins and average RPI.

The Lady Flames finished with a program-record RPI of 29, receiving 17 votes in the final USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll. Liberty set 11 program records, including overall wins (49), conference wins (18) and winning streak (19). The 19-game winning streak was the longest active winning streak in NCAA Division I softball when it was snapped in the Regional final.

The 2018 roster featured nine Big South All-Conference players, the Big South Pitcher of the year (Julia DiMartino), Big South Coach of the Year (Dot Richardson), the NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year and NFCA National Assistant Coach of the Year (Paige Cassady). DiMartino, Amber Bishop and Autumn Bishop were all named to the NFCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region team.

Honorable Mention – 1999, 2007, 2017
In 1999, Liberty posted the team's first 40 win season, going 41-25 and tying for the Big South Conference title for the first time. The Lady Flames set program single-season records for ERA (1.46), no-hitters (3) and shutouts (20) that still stand. Liberty's top two pitchers (Leslie Inge, 1.15 and Katie Phillips, 1.19) posted the two best individual single-season ERAs in the program's division I history. Head Coach Paul Wetmore was voted Big South Coach of the Year, while Liberty earned three VaSID All-State first team honors.

Facing one of the toughest schedules in program history, the 2007 Lady Flames finished with a 36-26 overall record and tied for first in the Big South standings with an 11-4 conference record. Liberty finished the season with an RPI of 59 and earned its first votes in the NFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Lady Flames defeated nationally-ranked NO. 23 Hawaii, No. 10 Baylor and No. 6 Michigan. Big South Player of the Year and NFCA All-Region player Jessica Moore highlighted Liberty's five all-conference selections.

Liberty won its first-ever postseason title in 2017, claiming the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championship, which was sealed in dramatic fashion with three wins on the tournament's final day. The Lady Flames (46-24, 16-5 Big South) earned the Big South regular-season title outright and finished with a season-ending RPI of 64. The 2017 Lady Flames featured four NFCA All-Region players, eight all-conference selections, the Big South's Pitcher of the Year (Julia DiMartino), Freshman of the Year (Amber Bishop), Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Kenzie Friesen) and Coach of the Year (Dot Richardson) and NISC Tournament MVP Tori Zavodny.