Liberty places three on VaSID All-State Softball Team
Senior second baseman Amber Bishop and sophomore outfielder Kara Canetto were both named to the VaSID All-State first team, while freshman pitcher Karlie Keeney was voted to the second team.
The VaSID All-State program honors the top collegiate student-athletes in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Nomination and voting are conducted by sports information directors within the Commonwealth.
Bishop is the second player in program history to earn All-State honors four times during her career, joining former teammate Julia DiMartino (2016-19). Bishop is the first Lady Flame with four All-State first-team honors. Canetto and Keeney both receive their first career All-State mentions. This is the sixth straight year that a Liberty pitcher has been honored on the All-State team.
A native of Murrieta, Calif., 2017 VaSID Rookie of the Year Amber Bishop is a three-time first team all-conference selection and three-time NFCA All-Region choice. Bishop was named to the USA Softball National Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List and was off to the best start of her career when the season was halted. She batted .420 with 10 homers and 27 RBI in just 23 games. Over the final 11 games of the season, she batted .600 (18-for-30) with nine homers and 25 RBI. The senior homered twice and drove in five runs against No. 6 Michigan, hitting a walk-off homer. She led the ASUN in homers, RBI and slugging percentage.
Hailing from Sylvania, Ga., Canetto showed no ill effects from off-season knee surgery that caused her to miss the last half of her freshman season. A 2019 ASUN All-Freshman Team honoree, she batted .394 with a team-high seven doubles in 2020. She was even better against Top 25 teams, batting .444 (16-for-36) versus nationally-ranked opponents. The junior recorded seven multiple-hit games, including three three-hit contests. Canetto went 3-for-4 with a game-tying RBI in a 6-5 win over No. 6 Michigan and had two-hit games against No. 22 Auburn, No. 8 Alabama and No. 1 Washington.
Keeney, a Providence, Ky., native, made an immediate impact in the circle as a freshman, going 5-5 with a 2.96 ERA and a team-high eight complete games. She was ranked No. 86 on D1Softball.com’s list of Top 100 Division I Softball Pitchers based on analytics. Keeney served as Liberty’s opening-day starter against No. 15 Kentucky. The freshman held No. 21 Ole Miss to just two runs in a 4-2 win, becoming the first Liberty freshman to pitch a complete-game victory over a Top 25 foe. Keeney pitched in 10 out of Liberty’s 12 games against nationally-ranked opponents, holding a 2.91 ERA versus Top 25 teams.
The Lady Flames went 10-13 this season, facing the third-toughest schedule in the nation (based on opponents’ combined winning percentage). Liberty earned two wins over Top 25 teams (No. 6 Michigan and No. 21 Ole Miss). The team played its best down the stretch, going 9-2 in its last 11 games while outhitting opponents .367-.206 during that span.
James Madison received Player of the Year recognition for the sixth straight season, as outfielder Kate Gordon earned the honor for the second year in a row. Virginia Tech won the three remaining major honors, in Pitcher of the Year (Keely Rochard), Rookie of the Year (Kaylee Hewitt) and Coach of the Year (Pete D’Amour).