The Virginia Wesleyan College Softball team is currently ranked 25th in the nation by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NCFA). The Marlins are the defending Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) champions, and the league coaches picked Brandon Elliot’s squad to repeat as champions.
Returning to lead the Marlins is All-American junior first baseman Cassetty Howerin. She was also selected as a First Team Preseason All-American by Fast Pitch News.
Howerin and the rest of the team are working hard to meet their preseason expectations.
“I feel that the Marlin family can expect our team to always come out each season and perform better than we did the previous season. We are always striving to do better, whether it is the small things like base-running or getting an extra base hit, we’re always going to perform to the best of our abilities because we have been set up well by our coaches,” Howerin said.
Personally, she is also ready to meet the tasks of being tabbed a Preseason All-American.
“I intend to fulfill this position by just going out and doing what I love to do, play softball. I have faith in my team to put me in the situations to succeed, and as a whole we have been taught very well by our coaches, and this also means I am not done and still have a long way to go, as well as the team itself,” Howerin said.
The Marlin softball team as a whole is extremely excited about the 2017 season, since it is right around the corner with the first game on Feb. 18 at home against Susquehanna University. Then, the Marlins will take their talents to Rocky Mount, NC, to take on North Carolina Wesleyan College on Feb 21. The Marlins are striving for the same success that they have achieved in previous seasons, and even more.
“We have really improved as a team these last 3 to 4 years and not only have we become closer, but we have improved in all aspects of our game, which only pushes us to work harder and better for each season we are given,” senior second baseman Elizabeth Bailey said.
Bailey was also willing to give some insight on how the team expects to live up to the ODAC preseason rankings they were given.
“We definitely go out every day for practice and work hard. We listen to each of our coaches and prepare to play each team differently. I believe that focusing on playing one team at a time instead of focusing on the entire season at one time definitely prepares us to play each team better,” Bailey said.
The Marlins have a tough schedule set before them as they begin this 2017 season. The Marlins not only are facing a 2016 NCAA Tournament participant in their second game of this season, but also will be facing the No. 16 team, Christopher Newport, as well as the No. 3 team, Messiah College. Coach Elliott has a lot of confidence in his players for this 2017 season to exceed the expectation of being placed No. 25. In his opinion, the players will be able to beat any competitor as long as they work hard and as a team.
As the Marlins prepare for their first game, their mindset is to exceed all the expectations that are set before them by bringing positive energy, hard work, determination and working together as one family
“I am really excited to be on this team and I believe we are going to do really well even with the setbacks we faced during preseason. I think we are still going to come out on top and I am really excited to see what we are going to do and hopefully fulfill the expectations,” freshman pitcher Hannah Hull said.
Hard work, dedication and teamwork is what will lead this group of 19 Marlins in practice every day to prepare them for this season. The Marlins have a large fan base that is eager to see how the season plays out.
(Photo: Luke Chiasson | Marlin Chronicle)