Junior pitcher becomes Oklahoma's first ever winner of the award.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts was named the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year by the Amateur Softball Association Tuesday night at the opening banquet for the Women's College World Series. Ricketts became the first player in Oklahoma history to earn the honor and was just the second to be named a finalist, following in the footsteps of her sister Samantha in 2007.
The 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.
"It feels like a dream come true is probably the best way to put it," said Ricketts. "The other two finalists had great years. This is a great honor for our program. I give all the credit to my family and my teammates, they are such a great support system. Also I can't thank my coaches enough."
The unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year, Ricketts was the only player among the three finalists to lead her team in both pitching and hitting. Ricketts currently ranks 11th in the country with an on-base percentage of .558 and 13th with an .841 slugging percentage. The Oklahoma junior is eighth nationally with 49 walks.
In the circle, she ranks third in the NCAA with an ERA of 0.99, third with 393 strikeouts and her 33 wins puts her fifth nationally. Ricketts is second in the nation in giving up just 3.71 hits per seven innings. The southpaw has recorded 1,191 career strikeouts, putting her third on the Big 12 career list.
The other two finalists for the 2012 award were Pac-12 Player of the Year Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) of California and Pac-12 First-Team honoree Katelyn Boyd (Phoenix, Ariz.) of Arizona State.
Ricketts and the rest of the No. 4 Sooners return to action Thursday at noon in the opening game of the 2012 Women's College World Series against South Florida at 12 p.m.