OKLAHOMA CITY - The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball have announced the Top Three Finalists for the 12th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Tennessee’s Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Oklahoma’s Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) and Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) are the three remaining athletes in the running. Ricketts is also the defending USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year having won the award as a junior in 2012.
Other past winners of this award include UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman, Florida State’s Jessica Van der Linden, three-time winner from Texas Cat Osterman, Tennessee’s Monica Abbott, Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher, two-time winner Washington pitcher/hitter Danielle Lawrie and 2011 winner Ashley Hansen from Stanford.
A three-time first team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) infielder, Raven Chavanne saved her best season for her senior year. The Lady Vol currently ranks fourth nationally with a .470 batting average, third with 87 hits and has successfully stolen base 39 times on 40 attempts this year. The four-year started has hit .420 or better in each of her four seasons at Tennessee. Chavanne is fourth in the country this year with 68 runs scored. No. 5 Tennessee will face conference foe No. T10 Alabama in this week’s Super Regional’s for a spot in the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS), which will be held in Oklahoma City May 30-June 5.
The 2013 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year, Keilani Ricketts currently ranks eighth in the country with a 1.21 ERA, 10th with 291 strikeouts and second with 15 shutouts. The lefthander holds a 29-1 record on the year and helped the Sooners to their 10th Big 12 Conference Championship and fourth-consecutive regional championship. Ricketts’ 1,546 career strikeouts currently rank 11th nationally and second in conference history. From the plate, she holds a .362 batting average, .677 slugging percentage and has recorded 12 home runs. Behind their senior leader, the Oklahoma Sooners held first place in all 14 regular season ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Polls this year.
As a team, the Sooners currently rank third nationally in batting average and seventh in home runs largely in part to their sophomore leadoff batter. Lauren Chamberlain currently sits ninth nationally with a .459 batting average and second with 27 home runs. Her .615 on-base percentage is third in the country and 1.110 slugging percentage leads all other Division I batters. Despite hitting leadoff, Chamberlain ranks third nationally with 77 RBI while still coming in at second nationally with 76 runs scored. No. 1 Oklahoma will meet up with No. 20 Texas A&M this weekend in Norman, Okla. for Super Regional’s with the winner advancing to the NCAA WCWS.
The winner of the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced on May 28 at the athlete only banquet just prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions as well as members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country, and previous Player of the Year recipients.
***courtesy of ASA/USA Softball