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Aldrete and Cooper Named Co-Recipients of the Inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Award
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Annie Aldrete of the University of Tennessee and Kasey Cooper of Auburn University have been voted as co-winners of the inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award, the Association announced.
The duo was presented with their trophies on Tuesday evening at the NCAA Women’s College World Series Student-Athlete Banquet at the Devon Tower in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Aldrete has enjoyed one of the finest seasons, not just for a freshman, but also for any player in the history of the Tennessee softball program. Tabbed first-team All-Southeastern Conference as well as to the SEC All-Freshman Team, the Monterey, Calif., native completed her initial season in the Orange & White by hitting .361 overall with 37 runs scored, 14 doubles, a program single-season record-tying 19 HRs (12 of those in SEC play) and a squad-high 65 RBIs. She slugged at a .813 clip (third in the SEC), drew 29 walks and registered a .470 on-base percentage. She also batted .333 against ranked teams this season with 10 walks, six HRs and 17 RBIs.
An in-state product from Dothan, Ala., Cooper proved to be a major offensive contributor for Auburn throughout its run to NCAA Regionals. The first Tiger player ever to be chosen both All-SEC (second team) and to the SEC All-Freshman team in program history, she led AU at .418 overall over 62 contests with a staggering 70 runs scored, 10 doubles, a school single-season record 18 HRs and 77 RBIs, the second highest total in the league in 2014. Cooper also ranked in the top six in the SEC in both slugging (.780 – fourth) and on-base percentage (.527 – sixth). Against ranked programs, she hit at a .352 clip (25-for-71) with 22 runs, 19 walks, seven HRs and 20 RBIs.
The NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award was voted on by the members of the NFCA’s Division I All-American & Coaching Staff of the Year Committee.
With the Association searching for innovative ways to promote the sport of softball, the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award grew from an idea to honor outstanding athletic achievement among freshman softball student-athletes throughout Division I.
About the NFCA
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) is the professional growth organization for fastpitch softball coaches for all competitive levels of play. Founded in the early 1980s by collegiate softball coaches, today the organization also includes high school coaches, travel ball/club coaches and individuals who support the sport. Founded by coaches for coaches, the Association is built on strong values and continually instills within its members a deep sense of responsibility for developing programs that enrich the lives of all those involved.
In addition, the Association provides educational training; encourages sportsmanship and high standards of competition; promotes the sport both nationally and internationally; identifies and pursues issues relevant to the fastpitch coaching profession and provides a forum to discuss those issues; honors excellence through awards programs for coaches and players, and keeps members informed of current coaching techniques, equipment innovations and fastpitch news.