Teammates Keilani Ricketts and Lauren Chamberlain are two of the three finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Softball Player of the Year Award, the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball announced Wednesday.
The Sooners are joined by Tennessee's Raven Chavanne as finalists for the award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball and is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
Wednesday's announcement marks the first time that teammates were among the top three since UCLA's Stacey Nuveman and Natasha Watley accomplished the feat in 2002.
The reigning Player of the Year, Ricketts currently ranks second in the country with 15 shutouts, eighth with a 1.21 ERA and 10th with 291 strikeouts and second with 15 shutouts. The lefthander holds a 29-1 record on the year and helped the Sooners to their 10th Big 12 Conference Championship and fourth-consecutive regional championship.
The 2013 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year, Ricketts is aiming to join Texas' Cat Osterman and Washington's Danielle Lawrie as the only repeat winners in history. Ricketts' 1,546 career strikeouts currently rank 11th nationally and second in conference history. From the plate, she holds a .362 batting average, .677 slugging percentage and has recorded 12 home runs.
Chamberlain is the nation's leader in four separate individual categories, while no other player leads in more than two statistical categories. In addition to leading in slugging percentage (1.110), Chamberlain also tops the country in home runs per game (0.50), runs scored per game (1.41) and runs batted in per game (1.43). A first-team All-Region and All-Big 12 First-Team honoree, Chamberlain was also a top-25 finalist a year ago for the award.
The winner of the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced on May 28 at the athlete-only banquet just prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions, members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country and previous Player of the Year recipients.