OKLAHOMA CITY — The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today that Florida pitcher/infielder Lauren Haeger (Peoria, Ariz.) was selected as the 2015 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year. The award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. This season, Haeger helped lead Florida to its seventh NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) appearance, where the Gators will look to defend their National Championship title from a season ago. This marks the first time an athlete from Florida has won the prestigious award.
“There are so many amazing players in this country,” said Haeger. “And to think I am standing here just feels awesome. At the beginning of the season, I did not have my expectations this high. I cannot thank my coaches and teammates enough for telling me that they thought I had the potential. I have worked harder this season than I ever have and it is cool that it paid off It is very humbling and cool and can’t thank enough people for supporting me.”
The 2015 SEC Pitcher of the Year, Haeger has established a 28-1 record this season and ranks sixth in the country with a 1.24 Earned Run Average( ERA). In just 186.1 innings of work in the circle, Haeger has amassed 194 strikeouts while giving up just 33 earned runs on the season and holding opposing batters to a .183 batting average. If that wasn't enough, the senior also produces at the plate for her squad, producing 64 RBI while totaling for a .329 batting average this season.
Haeger played a major role in the post-season success for the Gators, picking up four shutout wins through 29 innings of work while giving up just 10 hits while retiring 24 batters via strikeout.
In her four seasons as a Florida Gator, Haeger has compiled an 69-11 record with 511 strikeouts ranking her sixth all-time in Florida history. Additionally, Haeger is the all-time leader in home runs with 67, also an SEC record, and RBI. She also ranks among the all-time leaders in ERA and wins.
“I think her season was a tremendous season as an individual,” said Florida head coach Tim Walton. “But just like we preach to our players all the time, without a great team, typically individuals don’t get great awards. She has meant so much to our team and our team has meant so much to her. This is just a tremendous accomplishment for our whole program and thanks to ASA/USA Softball for recognizing Lauren’s achievements.”
The other two finalists for the 2015 award were back-to-back Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, Oregon's Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, Michigan’s Sierra Romero (Murrieta, Calif.).
Haeger now joins the ranks of past winner of the award, which 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’s Danielle Lawrie, Stanford’s Ashley Hansen, back-to-back winner Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts and 2014 winner Lacey Waldrop from Florida State.
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