Jan. 30, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech senior catcher/third baseman Savannah Brown and junior first baseman Whitney Haller have been selected to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List announced today. The 2008 Pre-Season Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 34 schools and 14 different conferences. Haller was selected to the initial watch list last season as well while recent graduate Caitlin Lever was one of 10 finalists in 2007. Brown and Haller join Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher as the ACC’s representatives while Tech is one of just 15 schools with at least two players on the list.
“This is a great honor for Savannah and Whitney,” Tech Head Coach Sharon Perkins said. “Both student-athletes are great team players and well deserving of the distinction to be mentioned with some of the best players in the country. They are both tireless workers and eager to begin the season.”
This award, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Past winners of this award include UCLA’s Stacey Nuveman, Florida State’s Jessica Van der Linden, three-time winner Texas pitcher Cat Osterman and 2007 winner Monica Abbott of Tennessee.
The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) will announce the 25 finalists on April 9. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a Top 25 finalist, but once the Top 25 is named the remaining finalist must be selected from that list. Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 7. The final three finalists will be announced May 21 while the winner of the 2008 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2008 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Brown stands fifth all-time in ACC history in home runs (37) and sixth in RBI (157). She holds the school record in putouts (948) and chances (1061) while ranking third all-time in Tech history in fielding percentage (.986). In 2007, Brown started 69 games and set a new single-season ACC record with 76 runs batted in. Her RBI tally was also good for second in the nation.
Brown was a First-Team All-ACC and NFCA All-Southeast Region pick while ranking sixth in the NCAA with a career-high 20 home runs. That was also the third-best in ACC history. She set a new Tech single-game record with three home runs against Florida State (4/7) and Virginia (4/27). Brown finished second in the ACC in home runs, fourth in slugging percentage (.680) and total bases (138), and ninth in on-base percentage (.427) … Led the ACC in league games only in home runs (12), RBI (31), total bases (60) and slugging percentage (1.017).
Haller is only the second Tech player (Laura Williams – 1994, ’95) to earn All-ACC honors in her freshman and sophomore seasons. She ranks third all-time in ACC history in home runs (39), 10 shy of the record, and currently holds the ACC’s all-time top slugging percentage (.725) and is fourth all-time in batting average (.382). In addition, Haller is only second Tech player to garner all-region first team honors (Jessica Sallinger, 2004-05) in consecutive seasons.
In 2007, Haller started in all 70 games for Tech at first base and garnered second team Academic All-America honors in addition to her All-ACC and All-Region accolades. She was selected to the first team Academic All-District III squad and earned ACC All-Tournament honors after helping the Jackets make the ACC Championship Game. Haller finished second on the team and fifth in the ACC, with a .372 batting average while ranking fourth in the ACC with 15 home runs. She also drove in 62 runs, third most in the league and ended the season third in the ACC with 67 runs scored. Haller tallied the fourth-best on-base percentage with a mark of .454 and led the Jackets by only committing three errors all season long for a .993 fielding percentage.