Thursday, May 29, 2014

Aldrete, Cooper Named Dual Winners of Inaugural Freshman of the Year Award

As announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) on Tuesday night, two SEC rookies share the honor of being named the 2014 Freshman of the Year.

Tennessee's Annie Aldrete and Auburn's Kasey Cooper were named co-winners of the award, and each received a trophy and were recognized at the WCWS Banquet in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.

From the NFCA release: 

Aldrete has enjoyed one of the finest seasons, not just for a freshman, but also for any player in the history of the Tennessee softball program. Tabbed first-team All-Southeastern Conference as well as to the SEC All-Freshman Team, the Monterey, Calif., native completed her initial season in the Orange & White by hitting .361 overall with 37 runs scored, 14 doubles, a program single-season record-tying 19 HRs (12 of those in SEC play) and a squad-high 65 RBIs. She slugged at a .813 clip (third in the SEC), drew 29 walks and registered a .470 on-base percentage. She also batted .333 against ranked teams this season with 10 walks, six HRs and 17 RBIs.

An in-state product from Dothan, Ala., Cooper proved to be a major offensive contributor for Auburn throughout its run to NCAA Regionals. The first Tiger player ever to be chosen both All-SEC (second team) and to the SEC All-Freshman team in program history, she led AU at .418 overall over 62 contests with a staggering 70 runs scored, 10 doubles, a school single-season record 18 HRs and 77 RBIs, the second highest total in the league in 2014. Cooper also ranked in the top six in the SEC in both slugging (.780 – fourth) and on-base percentage (.527 – sixth). Against ranked programs, she hit at a .352 clip (25-for-71) with 22 runs, 19 walks, seven HRs and 20 RBIs.

2014 is the first season the Freshman of the Year award has been presented. The award was voted on by members of the NFCA's Division 1 All-American and Coaching Staff of the Year Committee.

Karley Wester from Notre Dame was the third finalist for the award.

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