OKLAHOMA CITY - The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today the three finalists for the 14th annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award.
The 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. Florida's Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.), Oregon's Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) and Michigan’s Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif.) are the three remaining athletes in the running.
Past winners of this award include UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman, Florida State’s Jessica Van der Linden, three-time winner Cat Osterman of the University of Texas, Tennessee’s Monica Abbott, Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher, two-time winner Danielle Lawrie of the University of Washington, Stanford’s Ashley Hansen, back-to-back winner Keilani Ricketts of the University of Oklahoma and 2014 winner Lacey Waldrop from Florida State.
The 2015 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Pitcher of the Year, Lauren Haeger has amassed a 26-1 record, an 1.34 ERA and 183 strikeouts in the circle through regional play. If that wasn’t enough, the senior also holds a .335 batting average, .653 slugging percentage and .474 on-base percentage. Haeger was voted SEC Pitcher of the Week three times this season and was the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week in week two. Florida will face Kentucky in this week’s Super Regionals for a spot in the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS), which will be held in Oklahoma City on May 28-June 3.
Back-to-back Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, Cheridan Hawkins boasts a 29-3 record, an 1.40 ERA and 249 strikeouts through regional play. Ranked in the top 10 in the nation in wins, shutouts and saves, Hawkins was also named first team All-Pac 12 and leads the conference in wins, ERA and opposing batting average. Oregon will vie with N.C. State this week in the Eugene Super Regional, with the winner earning a spot in the WCWS.
A two-time Big 10 Player of the Year, Sierra Romero ranks in the top 10 nationally with a .474 batting average, a .628 on-base percentage, 78 RBI and a .987 slugging percentage, while slugging 21 home runs. A three-time unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first team, Romero was also named the 2015 espnW Player of the Year and established a new NCAA record for career grand slams. Behind their junior slugger, the Wolverines won their eighth straight Big 10 regular season title and will face Georgia in this week's Super Regionals.
The winner of the 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced on May 26 at a banquet just prior to the start of the WCWS.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 10 Division I conferences in the 15 ASA Regions, members of the media who consistently cover Division I softball across the country as well as past winners of the award.
— Courtesy ASA/USA Softball