Thursday, May 9, 2013

Top 10 Finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Announced

Yesterday brought the announcement of the ten finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. There were few surprises on the list; half of the players on the list play at either Oklahoma or Tennessee, while the other five are spread out across the country, from California to Texas to Michigan. The final ten candidates for the award are:

  • Lauren Chamberlain, Oklahoma
  • Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
  • Michelle Gascoigne, Oklahoma
  • Lauren Gibson, Tennessee
  • Jolene Henderson, Cal
  • Emilee Koerner, Notre Dame
  • Blaire Luna, Texas
  • Jessica Moore, Oregon
  • Keilani Ricketts, Oklahoma
  • Sierra Romero, Michigan
Most of the finalists didn't surprise me; the five players from OU and UT were no-brainers in my opinion. This award, in my eyes, is the equivalent of an MVP trophy, and Henderson has shown just how valuable she is to Cal, as they've played just dismal softball since her injury.

In a conversation with a friend of mine on Facebook before the list was announced, I mentioned that I thought Romero should be one of the ten. The freshman shortstop has had a simply awesome season, and raked against pretty much every pitcher the Wolverines have faced. I also like the selection of Moore; Oregon is a very good team, but I don't think they'd be at all the same without Moore in the circle a couple of games a week. Again, as the equivalent of an MVP award, Moore definitely belongs on this list.

The final two are kinda iffy for me. I don't know a whole lot about Koerner, but having looked over her statistics last night and this morning, she's got an insane near-.500 batting average, double-digit home runs, and an .847 slugging percentage! Having "studied up" on Ms. Koerner, I definitely agree with her selection.

I'm not too keen on the selection of Luna, however. Not to take anything away from her - she had a very good season - but she is not who I would chosen as the final candidate. Chelsea Thomas received a lot of fan support after being "snubbed" from the list, and while she also had a solid year, I wouldn't have chosen her, either. My vote would have gone to Hannah Rogers of Florida. Her stats are very similar to Luna's, and with the strength of schedule adjustment, they're even closer. Rogers was also on the top twenty-five list that the ten finalists were selected from, and she would have been my tenth selection.

What do YOU think of the top ten list? Who do you think will be the Collegiate Player of the Year?

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