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 2:
P – Kylee Smith, SO. – North Georgia
Fresh off a sweet freshman season where she was named a National Freshman of the Year Finalist and a first-team All-American by the NFCA, Smith will lead the Nighthawks into Peach Belt play as the conference favorites for the third straight year. If Smith can match her frosh numbers — she posted a 1.04 ERA in just under 250 innings in the circle — North Georgia stands a great chance to return to a Super Regional.
P – Hannah Vet, SR. – West Virginia Wesleyan
Arguably the best pitcher in Division 2 softball right now, the Wesleyan senior is coming off a season where she was selected as the Mountain East Pitcher of the Year, the conference’s Female Athlete of the Year and one of the NFCA’s second-team All-Americans. Vet’s ERA dipped below 1.00 last season; her 0.94 mark finished as the second-best earned run average in the Division.
P – Amanda Houck, SR. – West Chester
Houck posted deceptively impressive numbers in her 2017 campaign. Her inning count jumped from 161 in 2016 to 228 in 2017, but her ERA still dropped from 1.35 to 1.13. Her ability to control base runners and navigate jams lands her the third spot on our preseason list. We think her numbers could improve even more in 2018.
C – Marisa Monasseri, SR. – Caldwell
A strong defensive catcher who can hit consistently and with power, Monasseri posted impressive numbers for her fielding percentage (.989) and batting average (.503) in 2017.
1B – AnnMarie Torres, SO. – Colorado Mesa
A talented underclassman who could benefit from high turnover at first base around the Division, Torres hit .411 with 21 doubles and nine bombs last season. The NFCA named her a third-team All-American as a freshman, and we like her to move up the ranks this year.
2B – Kacie Kelly, SO. – Saint Leo
Another freshman who earned third-team All-America honors from the NFCA, Kelly tied the program’s single-season hits record in her first year playing at the collegiate level. Saint Leo hosted its first ever regional last year, in part because Kelly’s .440 batting average led the Sunshine State Conference.
3B – Brenna Martini, SR. – Adelphi
Martini is likely the best hitter returning for Division 2 softball this year and should be considered an early favorite for this season’s National Player of the Year. Already a POY finalist in 2017, Martini’s numbers in batting average (.483), RBIs (73), hits (71), OBP (.597) and slugging percentage (1.027) are far beyond most competitors.
SS – Sydney Sprague, SR. – North Georgia
North Georgia’s second player on our list is actually an SEC transfer. Sprague was a two-time Academic Honor Roll honoree at Missouri before transferring down to North Georgia for last season’s 2017 campaign. She was an immediate impact player, blasting 14 home runs and picking up second-team All-America honors from both the NFCA and the D2CCA.
OF – Christa Reisinger, JR. – Truman
Reisinger went 110-for-216 (.509) at the plate last year, setting five single-season school records in the process. She’s the consensus best outfielder in Division 2 softball.
OF – Jessica Meidl, SR. – Minnesota State
Meidl helped lead the national champion Mavericks at the plate, setting program records with 100 hits and 71 runs scored. Her 35 walks helped her to a .534 OBP and a second-team All-America bid from the NFCA.
OF – Tyler Hays, JR. – Adams State
As a sophomore, Hays posted a .493 batting average in a downsized (140 at bats) role. If Hays can match her production with a higher usage rate this season, she should contend for All-American honors.
DP – Haley Simonds, SO. – Newberry
Simonds posted 12 homers, 21 walks and a .397 batting average in her opening forray at Newberry College, garnering a first-team All-America nod from the NFCA.