LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Ten student-athletes have been named as finalists for the 2018 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Player of the Year award, the Association announced on Thursday.
Reigning Player of the Year Hanna Hull of Virginia Wesleyan University, a sophomore pitcher, who also won Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Freshman of the Year last season, leads the way.
Heading into NCAA Super Regionals, Hull is 33-2, with a 0.96 ERA, 20 complete games, eight shutouts and two saves. She has allowed just 101 hits, 29 earned runs and 54 walks, while striking out 296 over 211.2 innings.
Hull’s Marlin teammate Cassetty Howerin is also on the list again this year. Senior first baseman Howerin is batting .436 with 42 runs, 58 hits, 15 doubles, one triple, six homers, 23 steals, 54 RBI, 41 walks and just three strikeouts.
The University of Texas-Tyler leads all schools with three finalists — junior pitcher Colleen Bentke, junior outfielder Nicole Garcia and freshman catcher Ashley Perez.
Bentke is 23-2 with an 1.19 ERA, 12 complete games, nine shutouts, 104 hits, 24 earned runs, 25 walks and 122 strikeouts over 141.1 innings. Garcia has a .518 average, 60 runs, 73 hits, 15 doubles, three triples, one homer and 33 RBI heading into Super Regionals, while Perez is hitting .479 with 30 runs, 67 hits, 21 doubles, 17 homers and 64 RBI.
Trine senior first baseman Kaylee Fox has a .455 average, 30 runs, 56 hits, 14 doubles, 17 homers and 63 RBI.
Senior pitcher Kassie Howard is Berry College’s representative on the list, boasting a 25-1 record, 0.74 ERA, 14 complete games, six shutouts, one save, 32 walks and 197 strikeouts. She also has a .348 average, four runs, eight hits, a triple and five RBI in limited time on offense.
Christopher Newport University freshman designated player Patty Maye Ohanian hit .484 this season, with 45 runs, 75 hits, 15 doubles, three triples, 12 homers, 68 RBI and 11 steals in 12 attempts. If that wasn’t enough, she also occasionally pitched.
St. John Fisher College’s Lindsey Thayer became NCAA Division III’s all-time leader in strikeouts (1,515) during the Cardinals’ run to an NCAA Regional title last weekend, collecting a season-high 18 in a 4-0 win over Immaculata. That eclipsed U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Hayley Feindel (1,457 from 2009-12) for the NCAA career mark in 200 fewer innings. This season, Thayer is 24-4 with a 0.95 ERA, 23 complete games, 14 shutouts, and just 74 hits, 24 earned runs and 28 walks, while fanning 298 batters.
Illinois Wesleyan University pitcher Ally Wiegand transferred in from South Dakota for her sophomore season, and heads into Super Regionals with a 16-3 mark, 0.96 ERA, 12 complete games, six shutouts, three saves, 63 hits, 16 earned runs, and just five walks in 116.1 innings, while striking out 184.
The Atlantic region has the most representatives, with four, followed by the West with three. The Central, Great Lakes and Northeast each have one finalist. There are four seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen being recognized.
The list, which started at 50 prior to the season, was reduced to 25 finalists at midseason, and now 10 heading into Super Regionals. The winner will be announced following the completion of the NCAA championship in two weeks.
Texas-Tyler pitcher Kelsie Batten was the inaugural Player of the Year award recipient in 2016.
2018 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Player of the Year Top 10
Colleen Bentke, Jr., P, University of Texas-Tyler
Kaylee Fox, Sr. 1B, Trine University
Nicole Garcia, Jr., OF, University of Texas-Tyler
Kassie Howard, Sr., P, Berry College
Cassetty Howerin, Sr. 1B, Virginia Wesleyan University
Hanna Hull, So., P, Virginia Wesleyan University
Patty Maye Ohanian, Fr., DP, Christopher Newport University
Ashley Perez, Fr., C, University of Texas-Tyler
Lindsey Thayer, Sr., P, St. John Fisher College
Ally Wiegand, So., P, Illinois Wesleyan University
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