Lauren Chamberlain, Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults named NFCA First Team All Region.
May 17, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- Four members of the Oklahoma Softball program were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Central Region teams the organization announced Thursday. Lauren Chamberlain, Keilani Ricketts and Jessica Shults were named to the region's first team while Georgia Casey was named to the second team. With Thursday's announcement, Oklahoma has now had 50 players receive NFCA All-Region honors in the program's history.
Thursday's first team honor is the third career All-Region naming for both Ricketts and Shults while Chamberlain was one of just two freshmen to receive the first team honor. Ricketts and Shults became the seventh and eighth players in OU history to receive the honor three times in their career as the two juniors have a chance to become just the third and fourth to receive it all four years next season.
Oklahoma has had at least two athletes receive the first team All-Region honor every year since 1999. Six players on the current roster have received the honor as sophomores Destinee Martinez and Brittany Williams were named to the first team in 2011.
Ricketts earned Thursday's honor two days after receiving the Big 12 Player of the Year award. At the plate, the junior led the league with an on-base percentage of .561 while finishing second in batting average (.400), slugging percentage (.823) and walks (46). In the circle, she led the league in wins (28), strikeouts (344) and opposing batting average (.152) while ranking second in earned run average with an ERA of 1.10, a number that ranks sixth nationally.
Quickly making a mark on the record books with her bat, Chamberlain broke the Big 12 single season record for home runs last weekend as she hit three shots against Iowa State to up her season total to 25, a number that currently ranks second nationally. Chamberlain also led the Big 12 in slugging percentage (.888), runs scored (54), runs batted in (63) and total bases (142). The freshman ranks eighth nationally in both slugging percentage and runs batted in and was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday, becoming the first freshman in Big 12 history to earn the honor three times in a season.
Shults is ninth in the league with a batting average of .360 while ranking fourth in slugging at a clip of .713. The junior catcher is second in the Big 12 with 117 total bases and is third with 16 home runs and 59 hits while ranking fourth with 48 runs batted in. Defensively Shults leads the Big 12 with 497 putouts and has gunned down 10 runners attempting to steal a base while picking off five others.
After missing the first 14 games of the year due to an injury, Casey quickly became a vital contributor to the Oklahoma lineup as she finished second on the team with a batting average of .392, ranking fifth in the Big 12. The freshman ranks third in the league with an on-base percentage of .480 and and a slugging percentage of .735. Casey finished the season with nine home runs and a fielding percentage of .953.
The all-region teams were chosen by NFCA member coaches from each region, and all the honorees will now be eligible for selection to one of three 2012 NFCA Division I All-American teams. In addition, conference pitchers and players of the year not selected to the regional teams were added for All-America consideration.
The 2012 NFCA Division I All-America teams will be announced at 4 p.m. CST on Wednesday, May 30, on NFCA.org.