Stanford's Ashley Hansen named 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today that Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (Chandler, Ariz.) was selected the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Hansen, also the 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year, helped lead Stanford to a Super Regional Appearance, finishing the year with a .495 batting average, third best in the nation. For the first time since 2002, the inaugural year of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, softball’s highest award was not given to a pitcher.Three-time Olympian Stacey Nuveman Deniz (La Verne, Calif.) was the inaugural winner and is the only other position player to have won this award.
“My team has been there for me through thick and thin this year, really the past three years. I know that its not just me out there. I have eight other girls in the lineup who are capable of getting the job done and that takes a lot of pressure off of me,” said Hansen. “I wish we were here but congratulations to the eight teams here and good luck this week.”
More outstanding than her batting average or her on base percentage of .558 was the fact that in 192 at-bats, the junior only struck out five times all season, making her the second toughest player in the nation to strike out. Also named the Pac-10 Batting Champion, her average is the highest single season mark in school history. Hansen is just the second Stanford player to be named to the All-Pac-10 first team in each of her first three seasons. She also set a new Stanford single season record for hits in a season with 95, breaking Jessica Mendoza's record of 94 set in 2000.
“From the first day that she set foot on campus, we knew she was not only a special player but a special person. If you are around her you see right away how likeable she is and how she just does things the right way. You don’t become the player she is without a lot of hard work and dedication while learning from those around you,” said Stanford Head Coach John Rittman. “This is huge for Stanford and our program to have someone recognized as National Player of the Year. I am so proud of Ashley and all her accomplishments. She is such a team player and very deserving of this honor.”
Hansen led the Pac-10 in batting average (.495), hits (95) and doubles (25) while tying fellow finalist Katelyn Boyd (Phoenix, Ariz.) with on-base percentage (.558). Her 25 doubles also lead the nation while she ranks second in the Pac-10 in slugging percentage (.797).
The other two finalists for the 2011 award were Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) and Pac-10 First-Team honoree Boyd.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed four World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.