Feb. 2, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Georgia Tech sophomore pitcher/designated player Hope Rush has been named to USA Softball’s Player of the Year Watch List the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced Wednesday. Rush, a Stockbridge, Ga., native was a semifinalist for this award last season.
This award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I 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, Tennessee’s Monica Abbott, Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher and two-time winner Washington’s Danielle Lawrie.
Recent Tech graduate Jen Yee was a finalist for the 2010 award.
The 2011 Pre-Season Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 36 schools and 15 different NCAA Division I Conferences with the Pac-10 Conference leading the way with seven schools represented. The list includes 23 seniors, 12 juniors and 15 sophomores.
The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 13. A player does not have to appear on this initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist. However, once the top 25 finalists are named the winner of the award will come from that list. *Freshmen qualify for the top 25 list once they have competed at the collegiate level.
Rush, who was a semi-finalist for the USA Softball Player of the Year Award and the ACC Freshman of the Year and Tournament MVP, did it both offensively and defensively for the Yellow Jackets in 2010. In the circle, she went 28-8 with a 1.98 ERA. Her wins were first in the ACC, while the ERA was sixth lowest. Rush made 32 starts and had 28 complete games and eight shutouts. She also had a save and a .224 opponent’s batting average, which was good for eighth in the league. Of Rush’s eight shutouts, three come over ranked teams in No. 3 Florida, No. 16 North Carolina and No. 17 Texas A&M. The Stockbridge, Ga., native had three no-hitters to her credit and was a two-time ACC Pitcher of the Week. In league play, Rush went a perfect 12-0 with a 1.47 ERA and .183 opponent’s batting average.
At the plate, Rush batted .302 with a .659 slugging percentage and a .415 on-base percentage. She was second in the ACC and eighth in the nation with 20 home runs, while her 60 RBI rank second and 34th, respectively. Rush tied for fourth in the league in slugging percentage, third in total bases (118) and fifth in walks (35). Rush had 16 multi-hit and 17 multi-RBI games as well as a team-high 11 game-winning RBI. Her 20 round-trippers are tied for third on the all-time Georgia Tech single-season charts.
Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 11. The final three finalists will be announced May 25 while the winner of the 2011 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2011 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
2011 USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List
Name (School) – Year – Position – Hometown
Valerie Arioto (California) – Senior – Utility – Pleasanton, Calif.
Hillary Bach (Arizona State) – Junior – Pitcher – Tulsa, Okla.
Donna Bourgeois (Houston) – Senior – Pitcher – Lafayette, La.
Katelyn Boyd (Arizona State) – Junior – Infield – Phoenix, Ariz.
Kayla Braud (Alabama) – Sophomore – Infield – Eugene, Ore.
Stephanie Brombacher (Florida) – Senior – Pitcher – Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Anna Cahn (Cal Poly) – Senior – Pitcher/Designated Player – Los Alamitos, Calif.
Raven Chavanne (Tennessee) – Sophomore – Outfield – Thousand Oaks, Calif.
GiOnna DiSalvatore (UCLA) – Senior – Infield – Palm Harbor, Fla.
Kelsi Dunne (Alabama) – Senior – Pitcher – Port Orange, Fla.
Rachel Fico (LSU) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Oxford, Conn.
Kenzie Fowler (Arizona) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Tucson, Ariz.
Olivia Galati (Hofstra) – Sophomore – Pitcher – West Babylon, N.Y.
Alisa Goler (Georgia) – Senior – Infield – Frankfort, Ill.
Melissa Gonzalez (Hawaii) – Senior – Infield – Moreno Valley, Calif.
Kelly Grieve (Tennessee) – Senior -Outfield -Asheville, N.C.
Ashley Guile (Nebraska) – Junior – Utility – Olathe, Kan.
Meredith Hackett (Illinois) – Junior – Infield – Corona, Calif.
Sarah Hamilton (Florida State) – Senior – Pitcher – Tallahassee, Fla.
Ashley Hansen (Stanford) – Junior – Infield – Chandler, Ariz.
Andrea Harrison (UCLA) – Junior – Outfield – Garden Grove, Calif.
Alicia Herron (Ohio State) – Junior – Shortstop – Cypress, Calif.
Alex Holmes (UC Davis) – Senior – Pitcher/DP – San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Whitney Kiihnl (Lipscomb) – Junior – Pitcher/Outfield – Batesville, Miss.
Brittany Lastrapes (Arizona) – Senior – Outfield – Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Blaire Luna (Texas ) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Austin, Texas
Kelly Majam (Hawaii) – Sophomore – Outfield – Pine Valley, Calif.
Jenna Marston (Missouri) – Sophomore – Infield – St. Louis, Mo.
Meagan May (Texas A&M) – Sophomore – Catcher/1B – Spring, Texas
Morgan Melloh (Indiana) – Senior – Pitcher – Fishers, Ind.
Jen Mineau (Fordham) – Junior – Pitcher – Schaghticoke, N.Y.
Abby Olson (Illinois State) -Senior- Infield – Hartsburg, Ill.
Toni Paisley (East Carolina) – Senior – Pitcher/Utility – Lakewood, Calif.
Samantha Pappas (Oregon) – Sophomore – Outfield – Las Flores, Calif.
Sara Plourde (Massachusetts) – Junior – Pitcher – Bristol, Conn.
Jessica Purcell-Fitu (BYU) – Senior – Catcher – Walnut, Calif.
Jamia Reid (California) – Junior – Outfield – Buena Park, Calif.
Ivy Renfroe (Tennessee) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Jackson, Tenn.
Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) – Sophomore – Pitcher – San Jose, Calif.
Hope Rush (Georgia Tech) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Stockbridge, Ga.
Jenn Salling (Washington) – Senior – Infield – Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada
Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) – Senior – Outfield – West Hills, Calif.
Brittany Schutte (Florida) – Sophomore – Utility – Fountain Valley, Calif.
April Setterlund (Boston) – Senior – Outfield -Torrance, Calif.
Dorian Shaw (Michigan) – Senior – Infield – Burke, Va.
Kristen Shifflett (Radford) – Senior – Shortstop – Charlottesville, Va.
Jessica Shults (Oklahoma) – Sophomore – Catcher – Valencia, Calif.
Jordan Taylor (Michigan) – Senior – Pitcher – Valencia, Calif.
Rhea Taylor (Missouri) – Senior – Outfield – Buford, Ga.
Niki Williams (Washington) – Junior – Outfield – Mission Viejo, Calif.