Feb. 1, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY - Alabama junior outfielder Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) and sophomore utility player Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) have been selected for the "Watch List" for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced Wednesday.
Now in its 11th year, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, given by the National Governing Body for softball in the United States, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
Braud was named an NFCA All-American for the second straight season. She once again led the team in hitting, runs scored and stolen bases - five offensive categories in all. Her 58 stolen bases led the Southeastern Conference. She was also named a Capital One Academic All-American. In her first season in the outfield, Braud only made one error all season.
In the beginning of the 2011 season she put together a 28-game hitting streak which was the second longest in school history. Last season she tallied 30 multi-hit games and reached base in 33 consecutive games. She has been a Top 10 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year the last two seasons.
Traina enters her second season at the collegiate ranks on the heels of a standout rookie campaign. One of the top two-way players last season, Traina earned NFCA first-team All-American honors as a rookie. She supplied the power in the potent Alabama lineup and was just as successful in the circle for the Crimson Tide.
Traina smacked 13 home runs and batted .351 while driving in 45 runs. In the circle, Traina posted a 19-5 record with a 1.70 ERA. The powerful right-hander struck out 190 in 156 1/3 innings pitched. Traina will take the reins of being the ace for the Tide due to the graduation of Kelsi Dunne.
Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the most prestigious individual honor in NCAA Division I Softball, are UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Texas pitcher Cat Osterman (2003, 2005 and 2006), Florida State pitcher Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007), Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher (2008), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010) and shortstop Hansen (2011). Arizona State shortstop Katelyn Boyd, now a senior, and Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas, currently a redshirt junior, were the other two finalists for last year's award.
The pre-season "Watch List" includes 23 seniors, 20 juniors and seven sophomores, with freshman ineligible for consideration. (Freshman can be considered for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award once they have competed at the collegiate level.) Athletes named to the "Watch List" represent 31 NCAA Division I universities and 13 athletic conferences. While Cal, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas lead the way among universities with three athlete representatives each, the Big 12 Conference and the Pacific-12 (Pac-12) Conference have six member schools represented.
The Top 25 Finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 11. While an athlete does not have to be on the "Watch List" to be considered for the Top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the Top 25 Finalists. The Top 10 Finalists will be announced May 9 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 23. On May 29 prior to the start of the 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.