Oklahoma first baseman Shay Knighten and FLorida pitcher Kelly Barnhill are both nominated in various categories on the annual ESPYs awards ballot.
Knighten, whose postseason heroics earned her the title of WCWS Most Outstanding Player, is nominated in the category for Best Championship Performance. She is nominated against Tom Brady of the New England Patriots for his performance in Super Bowl 51; Kevin Durant for his performance in the NBA Finals; and Deshaun Watson for his performance in the College Football Playoff National Championship game.
Part of the championship-winning Sooners club, Knighten ended the World Series with a .350 batting average, scoring four runs on two doubles and a home run, with eight RBI. She was responsible for the game-winning three-run home run in the 17th inning of Game 1, as well as the game-winning runs in Game 2 of the championship series.
Barnhill, who earned National Player of the Year honors after her sophomore campaign, is nominated for the Best Female College Athlete award. Barnhill put together a nation-leading 0.36 ERA during the regular season, allowing fewer than three hits per game and more than thirteen strikeouts a game. She ranked in the top ten nationally in shutouts and strikeouts. She collected more than 330 KOs from the circle.
The Gator righty is one of five nominated for the award; the other candidates include Stanford’s Inky Ajanaku (volleyball), West Virginia’s Kadeisha Buchanan (soccer), Washington’s Kelsey Plum (basketball), and Maryland’s Zoe Stukenberg (lacrosse).
Other categories on the award show ledger include Best Female Athlete, Best Game, Best Play, and Best Team, though no softball-related nominees are up for those awards.
The ESPYs awards show will be held and televised on July 12; the telecast will begin at 8:00 pm Eastern on ESPN that evening. Future Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will host the awards show.