Softball: Sooners Trio Named to Top 50 Watch List

NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma softball has landed three players on the Top 50 “Watch List” for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball announced Friday.

Senior Keilani Ricketts, winner of the 2012 USA Softball Player of the Year, fellow senior Jessica Shults and sophomore Lauren Chamberlain represent the Sooners on the list. It’s the third year in a row that Ricketts and Shults have been on the list, while Chamberlain is in her first year and joins as one of eight sophomores.

The Sooners are one of five schools to feature three of its student-athletes on the list, tying Alabama, Arizona State and Stanford and trailing Tennessee’s four selections. Oklahoma also boasts half of the six players representing the Big 12.

Ricketts, who was the unanimous 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year, ended the season ranked 10th in the country with an on-base percentage of .553 and 19th with a .825 slugging percentage. She was also ninth nationally with 53 walks. In the circle, she ranked second in the NCAA with an ERA of 1.08, a school-record 457 strikeouts and 37 victories. Ricketts also finished third in the nation giving up just 3.91 hits per seven innings.

Shults, also a first-team All-American, was chosen as the 2012 Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year as she posted a .378 batting average and hit 20 home runs to tie for 10th in the country. She also recorded a .755 slugging percentage, got on base at a .463 clip and drove in 65 runs.

Chamberlain joined Ricketts and Shults as first-team All-Americans a year ago. The 2012 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Chamberlain set the school and Big 12 single-season record with 30 home runs on the season. She also led the conference with a .878 slugging percentage, 68 runs scored, 78 runs batted in and 172 total bases.

Now in its 12th year, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, given by the National Governing Body for softball in the United States, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

The Top 25 Finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced on April 10. While an athlete does not have to be on the “Watch List” to be considered for the Top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the Top 25 Finalists.

The Top 10 Finalists will be announced on May 8 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced on May 22. On May 28, prior to the start of the 2013 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.

The Sooners open the 2013 season Friday, Feb. 8 against No. 20/21 Stanford at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz.

/// SoonerSports PR
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