Eastern Connecticut's Rathbun and Virginia Wesleyan's Creech Named NFCA Division III Co-Players of the Week
By Johnny Miller
Pitchers Molly Rathbun of Eastern Connecticut and MacKenzie Creech of Virginia Wesleyan have been named the NFCA Division III Co-National Players of the Week for games played April 18-24, the Association has announced. Rathbun helped extend No. 12 Eastern's win streak to 16, while Creech led the Marlins to their first Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship since 1998. Rathbun, who is 13-0 on the year, won three games and saved another, allowing just 10 hits and one earned run (0.26 ERA) on the week. The junior struck out 49 and walked four. Offensively, she batted .333 with a team-high seven RBIs, 14 total bases and two home runs, and collected her 100th career hit.
Rathbun opened the week with her fourth career no-hitter, striking out a program-record 18 in a 5-0 Little East Conference road win over UMass Dartmouth and later avenged her only career LEC regular-season loss with six-hit, 18-strikeout 4-2 road win over Rhode Island College. Rathbun also tossed a complete-game four-hitter in a 1-0 over host Trinity College, then recorded the final four outs with strikeouts in the nightcap to save a 3-0 win.
In Eastern’s 10 conference wins this year, the Hebron, Conn., native is 7-0 with a save and 0.15 ERA (one earned run). She has 85 strikeouts and eight walks in 46-2/3 innings, and teams are batting .089 against her.
Creech's ODAC championship performance means the Marlins will be making their first NCAA regionals appearance since 1989. The freshman had a dominant weekend in the circle; over the three-day tournament, Creech was 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA while holding her opponents to a .184 batting average. Creech threw 30 innings, giving up 19 hits and striking out 27.
In Wesleyan's tournament opener, Creech threw a nine-inning game against Roanoke, striking out 10. She bested herself on the last two days of the tournament, throwing a two-hit shutout in the semifinals and a three-hit shutout in the championship. Creech was named Most Outstanding Player.
On the year, the Hillsborough, N.C., native is 18-4 with a 1.30 ERA and has 154 strikeouts in a 151-1/3 innings.