The University of Alabama softball program, ranked No. 4 by both of the national softball preseason polls heading into the 2008 season, is well represented on the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Top 50 Watch List for the seventh annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Three Crimson Tide players, Lauren Parker, Brittany Rogers and Chrissy Owens, were included on the list.
"All three players have shown they are capable of competing with best in the country throughout their careers,” said Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy. “They are all looking forward to this spring and competing against the best all season long."
The award, one of the most prestigious in collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by players from around the nation. The 2008 list includes players from 34 schools and 14 Division I Conferences.
Parker, who burst onto the scene last season after transferring to Alabama from Baylor, looks to duplicate her 2007 campaign that was one of the best in school history. She earned First Team All-American honors after hitting .457 on the season, the second highest batting average in school history. That average was an improvement of .191 points from her freshman season. Parker also hit nine home runs and was named First Team All-Southeastern Conference last spring.
One of the most dangerous leadoff hitters in the country, Rogers helped spark the Tide’s record-setting offense a year ago. She hit .402, becoming the ninth player in UA history to surpass the .400 mark for a single season. Rogers led the SEC in steals and steal attempts and recorded a .426 on-base percentage on the year. She was named Second Team All-American in addition to First Team All-SEC honors.
The ace of the UA staff last season, Owens racked up another outstanding season on the mound for the Tide in 2007. As a junior she put together a 1.30 ERA with 144 strikeouts to earn a 24-5 record. She posted 11 shutouts, second-best in school annals, and combined for five others. Owens was named Third Team All-American in addition to All-SEC accolades.
The ASA will announce 25 finalists on April 9. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered for the final list, but must be on the top 25 list to be considered. A list of 10 finalists will be released on May 7, with the winner announced prior to the start of the 2008 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., in late May.
Alabama opens its season on Friday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. against instate rival South Alabama. The Tide faces Purdue at 5 p.m. as a part of the 2008 Hampton Inn Bama Bash.