Ricketts Named USA Softball Player of the Year

Oklahoma College Softball Keilani Ricketts

Ricketts Named USA Softball Player of the Year

Oklahoma junior Keilani Ricketts has been named USA Softball Player of the Year, it was announced Tuesday by the Amateur Softball Association, the national governing body of softball in the United States, at a banquet in Oklahoma City.

Ricketts, who will lead the Sooners in their opening game on Thursday against South Florida, has been nothing short of spectacular this year, compiling a 33-7 pitching record and batting for a team-high .407 average. Ricketts has helped the Sooner pitching staff compile a nation-leading ERA of 1.15 with Ricketts at 0.99 and she also has fanned 393 batters.

Ricketts has recorded all five of the wins in the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals, pitching 31 of the 33 innings for the Sooners (50-8). The hard-throwing Ricketts has fanned 49 batters and walked only five, allowing 15 hits.

In the circle, Ricketts ranks third in the NCAA with a .99 ERA, fifth with 33 wins and her 393 strikeouts, including 21 in last weekend’s Super Regionals versus Arizona, rank third nationally. Ricketts is currently second in the nation only giving up 3.71 hits for every seven innings pitched. In 43 outings this season, Ricketts has recorded 23 double-digit strikeout games. The southpaw has recorded 1,190 career strikeouts, putting her third on the Big 12 career list.

“This is an honor and a dream come true,” said Ricketts. “I couldn’t have won without my team; they’re my backbone and my family. They give me tons of support and I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”

From the plate, the Oklahoma junior currently ranks eighth in the country with an on-base percentage of .563 and twelfth with an .853 slugging percentage. Ricketts is ninth nationally with 49 walks.

“This is the biggest individual honor that we’ve ever had in our program,” said Oklahoma Head Coach Patty Gasso. “She was up against some tough competition and it could have gone to any of them because they’re all phenomenal. Keilani has continued to get better every year and this is a tribute to her hard work. We are very proud of her”

The other two finalists for the 2012 award were Pac-12 Player of the Year Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, CA) of California and Pac-12 First-Team honoree Katelyn Boyd (Phoenix, AR) of Arizona State.