Senior catcher/first baseman Tiffany Huff
Jan. 27, 2010
By Brian Davis, Assistant Media Relations Director
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Tennessee Lady Vol senior catcher/first baseman Tiffany Huff and junior center fielder Kelly Grieve have been chosen alongside 48 additional softball student-athletes from across NCAA Division I by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) to its "Top 50 Watch List" for the ninth-annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award.
A Top 25 finalist for the prestigious trophy in 2009, this year's selection marked the third consecutive season that Huff was included on the preseason listing, while Grieve received her first selection among the candidates for softball's version of the Heisman Trophy.
Tennessee softball has now boasted at least one player on the organization's preseason listing for seven consecutive seasons, including former Lady Vol All-Americans such as Monica Abbott, Lindsay Schutzler and Tonya Callahan. This is also the fourth time (2006, 2007, 2008) in the last five years that Lady Vol softball has had at least two players chosen to the 50-member national watch list.
Abbott was the recipient of the 2007 USA National Player of the Year trophy on the basis of an outstanding season that saw her record a 50-5 mark with a 0.68 ERA and a national single-season record 724 strikeouts. During the year the Salinas, Calif., native also broke the career NCAA records for wins, appearances, innings pitched, shutouts and strikeouts while guiding the Big Orange to a national runner-up finish at the Women's College World Series. Callahan was a top three finalist for the prestigious trophy in 2008 after tallying a .465 batting average, to lead the Southeastern Conference, a school, single-season record 16 home runs and 62 RBIs.
The watch list is comprised of 50 student-athletes representing 35 schools and 14 different NCAA Division I Conferences. The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) plans to announce its 25 finalists on April 7. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist, however, once the top 25 are named, the winner of the award will come from that list. Freshman can qualify for the final 25 once they have competed at the collegiate level.
Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 12. The final three will be announced on May 26, while the winner of the 2010 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be disseminated prior to the start of the 2010 NCAA Women's College World Series at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.
During her breakout Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America junior campaign of 2009, Huff posted career highs in batting average (.399 on 63-of-158), runs scored (48), hits (63), home runs (eight), RBIs (67), total bases (102), slugging (.646) and on-base percentage (.522) and stolen bases (11), while adding 13 doubles, a triple and 43 walks. Her 67 total RBIs rated her fourth in the SEC and a 1.14 RBI-per-game average placed her fifth in NCAA Division I in that category. Huff started all 59 games for the Big Orange in 2009 at either first base or behind the plate. The Saugus, Calif., native tallied 14 multi-hit and 14 multi-RBI games and recorded a career-long 17-game hitting streak from Feb. 20-March 21 during which she .556 with four HR's and 27 RBIs. Among her stellar individual performances in 2009 were a 3-for-4, career-high six-RBI effort with a double and a home run in a rout of San Jose State and a perfect 4-for-4 performance with two doubles, a triple and four RBIs against Boston College. Huff currently resides in the top eight in Lady Vol history in career doubles (42), home runs (17), RBIs (175), on-base (.536) and slugging percentage (.460).
A Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Southeast Region selection as a sophomore in 2009, Grieve wreaked havoc on the opposition all season from her position at the top of the Tennessee batting order. The slap-hitting Asheville, N.C., native posted a .393 batting average on 79-of-201 hitting at the plate, mostly from the lead-off spot, with four doubles, four triples and 23 RBIs. After breaking the UT freshman single-season stolen base record in 2008, Grieve also added the Lady Vol sophomore single-season theft mark in 2009 with 39 steals in 42 attempts to break the record held by the former All-American Schutzler (2005). She ranked among the SEC's top five in hits all season long, tallied a team-best 25 multi-hit games and added three multi-RBI contests. Included in her outstanding performances last season was a school-record-tying five-hit game with a career-high five RBIs in an 18-0 (5 inn.) rout of Bowling Green on Feb. 27. Grieve already ranks sixth all-time in Lady Vol history in stolen bases with 57 thefts in 64 attempts after only two seasons wearing the Orange & White.
The Lady Vols open their 2010 campaign with a bang at the NTC Division I Elite Invitational in Clermont, Fla., over Feb. 12-14. Tennessee christens its challenging slate versus No. 4 Michigan on Fri., Feb. 12th, at Noon and will also battle Florida Atlantic, No. 8 UCLA, UCF and No. 11 Oklahoma during its stay in "The Sunshine State."