Saint Anselm is the new No. 1 in DII softball. The Hawks are relatively new to softball success, so let’s find out a little bit more about the No. 1 team in the country.
— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) February 27, 2019
This is a historic ranking for the Hawks. Not only is it the softball team’s first No. 1 ranking, but it’s the first time any sport in school history has reached the No. 1 spot. That’s pretty impressive considering the men’s basketball team has been NCAA tournament regulars for the past several seasons. Saint Anselm jumped one spot this week despite seeing its weekend series canceled. It’s a very big statement when a team from the Northeast can leap to No. 1 despite weather seemingly always limiting games early in the season.
— NFCA (@NFCAorg) February 27, 2019
The Hawks are coming off a historic season, ending the year in Salem, Virginia, for the DII softball championship. Saint Anselm finished the national runner-up after appearing in its first-ever championship series. The Hawks ended the season at No. 2 and made quick work to the top in 2019.
PRESEASON THOUGHTS: How DII softball could shape up in 2019
Plenty of familiar faces returned this year from that lineup, including Maggie Murphy and Erin Thompson. Both are off to solid starts, with Thompson 7-for-16 on the young season for a .438 batting average. Maddison Leite has been a welcomed addition in the lineup, blasting three home runs already in 2019. The Hawks hit only 15 home runs last season, eight of which came from senior Megan Murrell. Leite is making that transition seem a lot easier than expected with her new found power.
Where the Hawks are strongest is in the circle. Junior Morgan Perry returns after a breakout sophomore campaign that saw her go 25-5 with 184 strikeouts and a 1.67 ERA. With sophomore Courtney Fisher also back, the Hawks have postseason, big-game experience pitching every night.
The Hawks are perfect on 2019, and Perry is out to a 3-0 start as the ace. They opened on the road playing in a tournament in Myrtle Beach and swept the competition. Weather ended Saint Anselm’s hopes of continuing the momentum last weekend but should expect to get a lot of playing time in the coming week as the team heads to Florida from March 1 to March 9. If you want to show the DII softball world you are the best team in the land, coming out ahead after 18 straight games on the road to open your season is the best way to do it.