Auburn's Kasey Cooper; Florida Aleshia Ocasio; and Michigan's Sierra Romero will be the three players vying for the title of National Player of the Year when the award is handed out prior to the Women's College World Series.
Cooper, the SEC Player of the Year, boasts a .431 batting average with nineteen home runs and seventy-five runs driven in. Her .906 slugging percentage leads the SEC and her .591 on-base percentage was second in the conference. The 2013 National Co-Freshman of the Year, 2016 is the first time Cooper has reached the final stage of finalists for Player of the Year.
Ocasio, the only non-upperclassman of the bunch, posted an 0.65 ERA mark prior to yesterday's upset loss to Georgia, an appearance that gave her only her second loss of the season and increased her ERA to all of 0.77. Opponents hit just .183 against the sophomore hurler and she stands in the top ten nationally in five different categories.
Sierra Romero, now a three-time top three finalist for the award, is in the final season of a stellar career in the maize and blue. Three times the Big 10's Player of the Year, Romero ranks in the top ten nationally of four categories, including with her .470 batting average and 934 slugging percentage. She also boasts nineteen home runs and seventy-six to her own credit.
An original list of twenty-five finalists was released earlier in the season, a grouping that was then trimmed down to ten from which the final three vying for the award were selected.
All three players suited up for teams that earned top-four national seeds in the NCAA tournament.
The National Player of the Year will be announced on May 31st. The National Freshman of the Year award will also be handed out that day; finalists for that award are Ocasio's teammates Kelly Barnhill and Amanda Lorenz and Oklahoma's Shay Knighten.