The Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Team began its season, and finished it, in the top-25 of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Poll in 2018, as they found themselves listed at No. 21 at the conclusion of the spring.
Fans of the LR Softball team saw a stretch of total dominance, in which the Bears posted a 40-2 mark in the middle of the season, leading to a strong finish of 45-10 to end the 2018 campaign.
The Bears managed to appear in their 13th regional in program history, but fell one win short of reaching the Super Regional round for what would have been the third-time in school history.
Head Coach Shena Hollar led the squad to the Regional Championship game through the loser’s bracket against Young Harris College after defeating Georgia College and Carson-Newman with ease. However, it was the visiting Mountain Lions that got the better of the host team in the regional final.
This record-setting season included a dominant regular season home record of 23-0, South Atlantic Conference record of 19-1, giving them the title of SAC Regular Season Champions, and they were almost untouchable on the road, with an 18-4 record.
“This team had a great year on and off the field and they played like a family,” Hollar said. “To finish 21st in the country says a lot for our program.”
As proof of the dominant year they had, the Bears garnered eight spots on the All-SAC list, in addition to individual honors such as Hollar earning SAC Coach of the Year, junior Emily Kenley (Charlotte, N.C) being named SAC Pitcher of the Year, and Kylee Leonhardt (Lincolnton, N.C.) given the title of SAC Freshman of the Year.
The softball team graduates four players, but returns both starting pitchers and the majority of their starting lineup in hopes for another elite season on the diamond in 2019.