Last year the Virginia Wesleyan softball team had an outstanding record of 42-6 and won the ODAC Championship, making it three years in a row. They also made it to the NCAA tournament for the sixth consecutive year.
Coming off such a good year Virginia Wesleyan was able to stay atop the best teams in the nation being ranked #7 on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason standings. Also, ranked #1 in the ODAC preseason standings for the season.
Virginia Wesleyan softball team looks to start the new year off right against their first opponents, Meredith College on Feb. 15. “The team is well rounded, a lot of talent all the way through. Not a ton of superstars but a lot of really good players. They have elite speed, a lot of potential power, and obviously really good on the mound,” Elliot said.
Elliot has proven to be a great coach at Virginia Wesleyan having a whopping overall record of 451-109 in his twelve years of coaching. “The goal is the same as every year and that’s to win the whole thing. That’s been the expectation since we have been here. We know how difficult it is, and we gotta have a special year to do it,” Elliot said.
Two players Elliot mentioned having a great year are senior pitcher Hanna Hull and junior pitcher Carla Hall. “Carla Hall is throwing the ball extremely well, maybe the best she ever has and she has slightly been under the radar because she pitches behind Hanna Hull one of the best if not the best pitcher in Division III History. Carla is coming off a first team All-Conference year and all region player so she’s playing at her best right now. The better Carla plays, the better Hanna plays,” Elliot said.
Last year the Virginia Wesleyan Baseball team had a record of 22-17, making it their third year in a row with 20 plus wins. Sadly they lost in the ODAC Championship game.
Coming off a decent year the Virginia Wesleyan baseball team ranks #4 on the ODAC preseason standings. The three teams ahead on the ODAC preseason standings are #1 Randolph Macon, #2 Shenandoah, and #2 Roanoke.
The Virginia Wesleyan baseball team is looking to start the year with a win against Emory University. “One of our strengths should be that we’re a veteran team on the pitching mound. We returned a lot of our players from last year. As well as our top three starters back Pilarski, Lowe and Crusemire who all pitched us to regionals two years ago. We got some good young guys that should add some depth to our bullpen. We returned some good position players. I think we’ll be really athletic, I think we’ll be really explosive, and we have good team speed. That should help us defensively,” Francis said.
Francis seems to have the key to success for the Virginia Wesleyan baseball team, by leading the team to their third 20+ win season in a row. Approaching his sixth season coaching the Marlins, Francis has this to say about expectations for the team year:“Our goal is the same every year and that is to get better day by day. We don’t really look at the win and losses part, we just want to play the best baseball we can every day. If we can do that, we’ll be okay with the outcome.”
Two players that Francis thinks will have a great year are Seniors Jake Pilarski and Austin Obenour. “Pilarski is a two-way guy for us: he will be our number one pitcher and one of our designated hitters. He was All-Region a year ago and All-American two years ago. We feel that he is capable of doing special things. Obenour, our shortstop, has had a nice career here so far and he’s having a really good off season. I think these guys will do a good job at leading us on and off the field.” Francis said. When asked about what the team needed to work on, Francis said, “We need to execute our offense!”