Feb. 5, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. - The Oklahoma trio of Keilani Ricketts, Jessica Shults and Lauren Chamberlain has been tabbed as 2013 Preseason First-Team All-Americans, ESPNW.com has announced.
Chosen as the catcher, senior Jessica Shults was described by writer Graham Hays as the "vocal and emotional leader for an Oklahoma team that came within a win of the national championship."
Shults was a first-team All-American in 2012 and was chosen as the 2012 Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year as she posted a .378 batting average and hit 20 home runs to tie for 10th in the country. She also recorded a .755 slugging percentage, got on base at a .463 clip and drove in 65 runs.
Chamberlain, a sophomore, was tabbed as the first baseman. After a freshman season that saw her set a conference record with 30 home runs, Hays writes that, "The only thing Chamberlain did wrong in her debut season was leave herself little room for an encore. Because if there is more to come, pitchers might as well give up now."
The 2012 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Chamberlain also led the conference with a .878 slugging percentage, 68 runs scored, 78 runs batted in and 172 total bases.
Ricketts was one of three starting pitchers chosen for the All-American squad, though Hays said that, "Ricketts would be a first-teamer solely for her production at the plate (.395 batting average, 1.363 OPS, 17 home runs), but she earns this spot for her work in the circle."
Now a senior, she ranked second in the NCAA in 2012 with an ERA of 1.08, a school-record 457 strikeouts and 37 victories. Ricketts also finished third in the nation giving up just 3.91 hits per seven innings.
The honor from ESPNW comes less than a week after were each player was named to the Top 50 "Watch List" for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year by the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball.
No. 2 Oklahoma opens the 2013 season Friday, Feb. 8 against No. 20/21 Stanford at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz.