OKLAHOMA CITY — After driving in 17 teammates in 19 at-bats, Mississippi State junior outfielder Jessica Cooley has been selected the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week for Feb. 27-March 4, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. It is the first national recognition for the Birmingham, Ala., native, who joins Bulldog Iyhia McMichael (Feb. 24, 2004) as the only Mississippi State athletes selected for the prestigious USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honor.
"I am extremely blessed and humbled by this honor,” said Cooley, who was also named Southeastern Conference (SEC) Player of the Week. “This is a team award in my eyes, because everyone had a hand in my results this past week. Coach [Beth] Mullins and Coach [Alan] Reach did a great job developing a plan for my at-bats so I could hit the pitches I wanted. I have to thank my teammates as well for having great at-bats in front of me all week. Without them getting on, I wouldn't have been able to drive in the number of runs that I did."
Cooley arguably had the best single week by any player in school history, going 10-for-19 (.526) with 17 RBI and eight runs scored over Mississippi State’s six victories against Jackson State, Columbia, Louisiana Tech, Eastern Illinois and Samford. She had two games (Feb. 29 against Jackson State and March 4 against Samford) where she drove in a career high five RBI. Cooley finished the stint with a .571 on base percentage and a 1.316 slugging percentage.
Before the fourth week of the season, Cooley had hit only five home runs in her previous 108 career games, a total she doubled at the Bulldog Classic. On Friday against Columbia, she took the ball 299 feet for a solo shot. She hit two more home runs and a career best three hits against Columbia on Saturday. Against Eastern Illinois in the second game of Mississippi State’s Saturday doubleheader, Cooley hit her third home run of the day. She capped off the weekend Sunday with her first-career grand slam against Samford.
"One of the most rewarding things as a coach is when you see hard work pay off for a terrific student-athlete,” said Head Coach Vann Stuedeman, who is in her first year with Mississippi State. “Jessica is one of the hardest-working players on our squad and she is always the first to credit her teammates and coaches for her success. She is the epitome of what being a Mississippi State softball player is all about and is a tremendous ambassador for our state and our program."
Mississippi State (14-5) received votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.
2012 USA Softball Collegiate Players of the Week
Week 1 (Feb. 9-12): Valerie Arioto - California - Redshirt senior - Utility – Pleasanton, Calif.
Week 2 (Feb. 13-19): Christi Orgeron – ULL – Senior – Utility – New Orleans, La.
Week 3 (Feb. 20-26): Teagan Gerhart – Stanford – Junior – Pitcher – Norco, Calif.
Week 4 (Feb. 27-March 4): Jessica Cooley – Mississippi State – Junior – Outfielder – Birmingham, Ala.
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 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 five World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.