Feb. 1, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) and USA Softball announced its Top 50 "Watch List" for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award on Friday. No. 6/5 Tennessee led the nation with four players on the list: Raven Chavanne, Lauren Gibson, Ellen Renfroe and Madison Shipman.
The four selections ties for the UT's most on the "Watch List" since 2006 when Lady Vol legends Monica Abbott, Kristi Durant, Sarah Fekete, Lindsay Schutzler made the "Watch List." Abbott won the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year in 2007. Tennessee softball has now had at least one player included on the organization's preseason "Watch List" in 10 consecutive seasons (2004-2013). This marks the seventh time in the last eight seasons that UT has had two or more players on the preseason Top 50 "Watch List" (2006-08, 2010-13).
The pre-season "Watch List" includes 27 seniors, 15 juniors and eight sophomores, with freshman ineligible for consideration. (Freshman can be considered for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award once they have competed at the collegiate level.) Athletes named to the "Watch List" represent 34 NCAA Division I universities and 12 athletic conferences. Tennessee leads the way among universities with four student-athlete representatives while No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 4 Arizona State have three each. The Pac-12 and the SEC each have eight member schools represented.
Now in its 12th year, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, given by the National Governing Body for softball in the United States, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
The Top 25 Finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 10. While an athlete does not have to be on the "Watch List" to be considered for the Top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the Top 25 Finalists. The Top 10 Finalists will be announced May 8 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 22. On May 28 prior to the start of the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.
Chavanne has been on the preseason "Watch List" in each of the last three seasons and a Top 10 finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. She was also named to the Preseason All-SEC Team for the third consecutive year. Chavanne is coming off a banner 2012 season, earning Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America and All-SEC honors for the third straight season. The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native was a finalist for USA Softball National Player of the year for the second year in a row. She was also a two-time Capital One First Team Academic All-American (2011, 2012). Chavanne led the SEC for the second straight season and ranked 21st in NCAA Division I with a .422 batting average. She also led the league with a .391 batting average in conference games. She also struck out just six times in 187 at bats - a 31.2 at-bat-per-strikeout mark that ranked 10th in the nation. Chavanne enters 2013 as UT's current career leader in career batting average (.444) and on-base percentage (.507). Her 102 stolen bases rank third on the Lady Vols' all-time list and she is within range to break Lindsay Schutzler's record of 120.
Gibson is on the preseason "Watch List" for the second year in a row. She also made the SEC's preseason team for the second straight year. Gibson is coming off an outstanding 2012 season, becoming the fourth Lady Vol to be named a Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first team selection in multiple seasons (2011, 2012). She earned All-SEC honors for the second consecutive year. Gibson hit .314 and led UT with 13 home runs, 54 runs, 45 walks and a .562 slugging percentage. The Pasadena, Md., native also tallied 12 multi-hit and 19 multi-RBI games. She committed just two errors at second base to help lead the team to the nation's best fielding percentage at .982. Playing for the U.S. National Team this summer, Gibson led the Red, White and Blue with a .500 batting average and tied for the team high with 24 hits.
Shipman, who is also a Preseason All-SEC selection, had a breakout sophomore season in 2012, earning Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America second team accolades and All- SEC first team honors. She hit .311 and led the team with 23 extra-base hits (10 homers, 11 doubles, two triples). The Valencia, Calif., native led the team with 18 multi-RBI games and also posted 17 multi-hit performances. She committed just five errors at shortstop to help bolster the nation's No. 1 defense. This past summer, Shipman played on the 2012 USA Elite Team.
In 2012, Ellen Renfroe earned her second Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America honors and was a Top 25 finalist for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year . She was also a 2012 Capital One Second Team Academic All-American and a First Team All-SEC selection. Ellen Renfroe went 27-5 and ranked seventh in the nation and third in the SEC with a 1.24 ERA. She fanned 280 batters and limited opposing hitters to a .179 batting average. Her 4.39 hits allowed per seven innings ranked 13th in the country. Ellen Renfroe also tossed the first no-hitter of her career against Furman on March 27, 2012.
2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List
Name (School) - Year - Position - Hometown
Emily Allard (Northwestern) - Senior - Utility - Antioch, Calif.
Nikki Armagost (Pacific) - Senior - Pitcher/Utility - Andover, Kan.
Marisa Bast (Northwestern) - Junior - Infield - Orange, Calif.
B.B. Bates (UCLA) - Senior - Outfield - Victorville, Calif.
Cassidy Bell (Penn State) - Senior - Outfield - Bakersfield, Calif.
Kayla Braud (Alabama) - Senior - Outfield - Eugene, Ore.
Amy Buntin (Notre Dame) - Senior - Catcher - Franklin, Tenn.
Whitney Canion (Baylor) - RS Junior - Pitcher - Aledo, Texas
Lauren Chamberlain (Oklahoma) - Sophomore - Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Raven Chavanne (Tennessee) - Senior - Third base/Outfield - Thousand Oaks, Calif.
J.C. Clayton (BYU) - Senior - Infield - Hollister, Calif.
Brigette Del Ponte (Arizona) - Senior - Infield - Peoria, Ariz.
Mel Dumezich (Texas A&M) - Senior - Pitcher/Infield - Whiting, Ind.
Dallas Escobedo (Arizona State) - Junior - Pitcher - Glendale, Ariz.
Rachele Fico (LSU) - Senior - Pitcher - Oxford, Conn.
Amber Freeman (Arizona State) - Sophomore - Catcher - Lakewood, Calif.
Olivia Galati (Hofstra) - Senior - Pitcher/Designated Player - West Babylon, N.Y.
Teagan Gerhart (Stanford) - Senior - Pitcher - Norco, Calif.
Lauren Gibson (Tennessee) - Senior - Infield- Pasadena, Md.
Tara Glover (Boise State) - Junior - Outfield - Grants Pass, Ore.
Jolene Henderson (Cal) - Senior - Pitcher/First base - Elk Grove, Calif.
Taylor Hoagland (Texas) - Senior - Outfield/Third base - Flower Mound, Texas
Kylene Hopkins (Michigan State) - Senior - Outfield - Menifee, Calif.
Kaila Hunt (Alabama) - Junior - Infield - Evans, Ga.
Kaitlin Inglesby (Washington) - Junior - Pitcher - Portland, Ore.
Jessica Iwata (Hawaii) - Senior - Shortstop - Lihu'e, Hawaii
Alix Johnson (Arizona State) - Junior - Outfield - San Diego, Calif.
Stephany LaRosa (UCLA) - Sophomore - Diamond Bar, Calif.
Blaire Luna (Texas) - Senior - Pitcher - Austin, Texas
Hayley Miles (San Diego State) - Junior - Utility - Antelope, Calif.
Jessica Moore (Oregon) - Senior - Pitcher - Sutter, Calif.
Nerissa Myers (Louisiana-Lafayette) - Senior - Infield - Petal, Miss.
Sara Nevins (South Florida) - Junior - Pitcher - Pinellas Park, Fla.
Haley Outon (Houston) - Junior - Catcher - Pflugerville, Texas
Samantha Pappas (Oregon) - Senior - Outfield - Mission Viejo, Calif.
Ellen Renfroe (Tennessee) - Junior - Pitcher - Jackson, Tenn.
Jenna Rich (Stanford) - Senior - Infield - El Segundo, Calif.
Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) - Senior - Pitcher - San Jose, Calif.
Shellie Robinson (USC Upstate) - Sophomore - Outfield - DeLand, Fla.
Hannah Rogers (Florida) - Junior - Pitcher - Lake Wales, Fla.
Madison Shipman (Tennessee) - Junior - Infield - Valencia, Calif.
Jessica Shults (Oklahoma) - Senior - Catcher - Valencia, Calif.
Tess Sito (Georgia) - Senior - Pitcher/Utility - Elyria, Ohio
Chelsea Thomas (Missouri) - Senior - Pitcher - Pleasantville, Iowa
Jackie Traina (Alabama) - Junior - Pitcher/Designated player - Naples, Fla.
Kirsten Verdun (DePaul) - Junior - Pitcher/First Base - Coal City, Ill.
Haylie Wagner (Michigan) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Orange, Calif.
Devon Wallace (Arkansas) - Sophomore - Utility - Double Oak, Texas
Hallie Wilson (Arizona) - Sophomore - Outfield - Santa Ana, Calif.
Hanna Winter (Stanford) - Sophomore - Infield - Camarillo, Calif.