OKLAHOMA CITY — The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today that Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) was selected as the 2013 USA Softball 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. Ricketts, also the 2012 award winner, helped lead the Oklahoma Sooners to their third straight NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) appearance this season.
The 2013 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year, Ricketts currently ranks eighth in the country with a 1.22 ERA, seventh with 311 strikeouts and second with 16 shutouts. The lefthander holds a 31-1 record on the year and helped the Sooners to their tenth Big 12 Conference Championship. Ricketts’ 1,566 career strikeouts currently ranks 11th all-time nationally and second in conference history.
“First I want to say congratulations to both Raven and Lauren,” said Ricketts. “Those girls have had insane seasons this year. I also want to thank my teammates and coaches for helping me win this award. There’s no way I could have done it without them. Thank you to the voters and ASA/USA Softball for this honor.”
From the plate, Ricketts holds a .375 batting average, .706 slugging percentage and has 13 home runs. Behind their senior leader, the Oklahoma Sooners held first place in all 14 regular season ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Polls this year.
“I’m really happy for Keilani. She has worked really hard throughout this season,” said Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso. “I’m also proud of Coach Lombardi and Coach MacKay, our assistant coaches, who have both worked really diligently to help Keilani throughout the season. It’s hard when you have expectations on you so heavily coming into a season and she has handled it very well. She’s very deserving of this award as were all of the finalists.”
Ricketts joins the ranks of Cat Osterman (2003, 2005 and 2006) and Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010) as the only multiple USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year honorees.
The other two finalists for the 2013 award were fellow Sooner Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuca Canyon, Calif.), who ranks second in the nation with 27 home runs, and All-Southeastern Conference First-Team honoree Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) of Tennessee who also reached the WCWS this year with the Lady Vols.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions as well as members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country, and previous Player of the Year recipients. Other past winners of this award include UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman, Florida State’s Jessica Van der Linden, Tennessee’s Monica Abbott, Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher, and 2011 winner Ashley Hansen from Stanford.