Florida State pitcher/outfielder Jessica van der Linden has been named the 2004 Honda Award winner for softball.
She becomes the first player ever to sweep both the Honda Award and USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year. The senior from Cerritos, Calif., will now join 11 other female athletes who have qualified for the Honda-Broderick Cup, which is awarded to the nation's Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.
“This has been an amazing year for me as far as team goals and personal goals are concerned,” said van der Linden. “It is almost to the point where I am speechless. It is hard to keep finding ways to express how grateful I am for the honors but this award means so much to me. I would like to thank Honda and the Collegiate Woman Sports Awards for helping make a dream come true.”
A two-time first-team All-American, van der Linden finished the 2004 season hitting .401 as she became the first ever Seminole to hit .400 in two seasons and she did it in back-to-back years. She finished the year with a new single season record for RBIs (55) and strikeouts (387). With her 10th double of the year at the WCWS she also became to only Seminole ever to record 50 career doubles and the only FSU player ever to record four straight seasons with 10 or more doubles. She set career records for strikeouts RBIs and walks and finished with the second-highest career batting average in FSU history.
On the largest stage of all, van der Linden showed the softball world why she was worthy of national player of the year honors. Her .714 batting average and 1.286 slugging percentage were just two of the many reasons she became just the third Seminole ever named to an All-WCWS team. In just seven at bats at the World Series, van der Linden recorded five hits, including a double and a home run, she scored two runs and drove in two RBIs. She didn’t have a single strikeout at the plate either. She also pitched 16 innings including a complete game shutout of No. 7 Washington in an elimination game. She fanned 21 batters and issued just four walks. All four of her runs came versus national runner-up Ca. She did not allow an earned run in either of her other two appearances.
Van der Linden was chosen by the NFCA as one of four finalists for the Honda Award, which is voted on by administrators of women's college athletics. The other finalists were: Alicia Hollowell, Arizona; Iyhia McMichael, Mississippi State; and Kristen Rivera, Washington.