Friday, May 23, 2014

Top 3 Freshman of the Year Finalists Announced

The National Fastpitch Coaches Association yesterday announced the top three finalists for the inaugural Freshman of the Year award.

Tennessee's Annie Aldrete; Notre Dame's Karley Wester; and Auburn's Kasey Cooper are the three left standing for the award.

Partial release from the NFCA:
"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 is currently hitting .373 overall with 36 runs scored, 13 doubles, a program single-season record-tying 19 HRs (12 in SEC play) and a squad-high 64 RBIs. Venturing into NCAA Super Regional action this weekend in Norman, Okla., Aldrete is slugging at an .842 clip, has drawn 28 walks and registered a .482 on-base percentage. She also batted .405 against ranked teams this season (15-for-37) with 10 walks, seven HRs and 22 RBIs.

An in-state product from Dothan, Ala., Cooper was a standout 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.

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s Freshman of the Year, Wester topped the league in three major statistical categories during ACC play, hitting an amazing .521 (37-for-71) over 21 conference starts with a .575 on-base percentage (second in the ACC) and 10 stolen bases. For the season the Huntingdon Beach, Calif., native and Fighting Irish leadoff hitter guided her squad with a .455 batting average, plating 50 runs, delivering six extra-base hits, knocking in 28 tallies and swiping an impressive 26 bases in 31 attempts. Wester also batted .429 against ranked foes in 2014, going 12-for-28 at the plate."

The award will be presented & the winner announced on May 27, prior to the start of the Women's College World Series. 

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