It's officially February, which means the college softball season is almost here. With that in mind, here's a look at our Preseason All-American selections for Division 3:
P – Hanna Hull/SO. – Virginia Wesleyan
Hanna Hull, the NCAA’s selection for Most Outstanding Player from last year’s postseason tournament, is an obvious choice here. The sophomore from Chesterfield is a D1 talent who opted for a beachfront offer at VW. In doing so, she made Wesleyan an immediate national contender.
Hull fired off a 0.52 ERA in 2017, and maintained an 11.82 K/7 ratio. We like her chances to build on an outstanding freshman campaign in 2018; Wesleyan probably likes its chances to defend its national title.
P – Lindsey Thayer/SR. – St. John Fisher
Jumping from last year’s champion to last year’s runner-up, Thayer enters her senior year with arguably the most impressive career of any active player in the division. She’s made 39 appearances in back-to-back seasons, leading the country in total strikeouts in both of them. Thayer’s prowess in the circle makes the Cardinals a national threat once again.
P – Maitlin Raycroft/SR. – Texas Lutheran
Raycroft burst onto the scene in 2017 for Texas Lutheran after transferring in from JuCo Galveston College. Raycroft picked up a second-team All-America nod last season after issuing 219 strikeouts and allowing hitters just a .128 batting average. We think her second year in Seguin could be even better.
C – Janae Matos/SR. – Moravian
Matos, a .343 hitter in 2016, upped her average to a borderline unbelievable .523 average last season. If she even comes close to those numbers in her senior campaign, she’s a near-lock to repeat as an NFCA first-team All-American.
1B – Cassetty Howerin/JR. – Virginia Wesleyan
Howerin is the second Marlin on our preseason All-American list, and with good reason. Just like Hull and Thayer, Howerin was named to the All-Tournament team during last year’s postseason. Howerin led the ODAC with 12 homers and 56 RBIs — none bigger than the championship-deciding score she facilitated in Wesleyan’s 1-0 win over St. John Fisher last May.
2B – Linzie Lewis/JR. – East Texas Baptist
Lewis, who set the single-season hits record for ETBU in 2017, was the NFCA’s first-team All-America selection at second base last year. She was also one of five infielders to make the Final 10 for the nation 2017 Player of the Year award.
3B – Jenna George/JR. – St. Catherine
In a breakout 2017 season that saw her bat .465 and slug .851, George was named as the MIAC’s Player of the Year as a sophomore. She also became St. Catherine’s first-ever first-team All-American. We think her upward ascent will continue in 2018.
SS – Vada Sherrill/JR – Pfeiffer
Perhaps the most intriguing selection on our list, Sherrill is a one-woman wrecking ball who has rewritten her school’s record books in just two years of softball. Pfeiffer, a former Division 2 program, is stepping down to the Division 3 level for the upcoming season, so Sherrill and the Falcons are definitely a group to watch carefully.
OF – LeAnne Collins, SR, Salisbury
Collins, last year’s Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year, is the only returning outfielder who was named a finalist for last season's National Player of the Year.
OF – Mallory Klotz, SR. – Wisconsin-Whitewater
Klotz, an NFCA All-American who posted a .531 OBP in 2017, set a new program record at Whitewater last season with 71 hits.
OF – Melissa Livermore, JR. – Texas-Dallas
Livermore, now a two-time All-American, hit 69-for-157 (.439) last year and posted a flawless fielding percentage (57 putouts, 2 assists).
DP – Morgan Smith, SR. – Rowan
Smith mashed 60 hits (22 doubles) and collected 47 RBIs in 135 at bats last season en route to being named the NFCA’s first-team designated player. She makes our list in the DP spot as well.