OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The 2013 USA Softball Top 50 Player of the Year Watch List is out and three Sun Devils make the preseason list. Returning for her second time on the Top 50 Watch List is Dallas Escobedo, who was also listed in 2012 alongside Katelyn Boyd who was a Top 3 Finalist one season ago.
Now in its 12th 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.
The pre-season "Watch List" includes 27 seniors, 15 juniors and eight 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 34 NCAA Division I universities and 12 athletic conferences.
About Dallas Escobedo: A career tally of 14-3 in the postseason, was Second Team NFCA All-West Region as a sophomore after going 24-8 on the year with a 2.32 ERA in 211.0 innings pitched. As a freshman was a First Team All-American, WCWS All-Tournament and WCWS co-MVP.
About Amber Freeman: Had 57 starts as a freshman and hit .500 in the WCWS last year en route to being named to the WCWS All-Tournament Team. Pac-12 All-Freshman and All-Conference Honorable Mention, Freeman returns as the starting catcher whose name already cracks into the ASU record book.
About Alix Johnson: Begins season with a nod from ESPNW on their Preseason All-America Softball Team. After opening her career with Pac-10 All-Freshman accolades, she's moved up to All-American status in 2012 and accomplished that with a .395 batting average, 13 home runs and 53 RBI.
The Top 25 Finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 10. 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 8 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 22. On May 28 prior to the start of the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.
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), Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011) and pitcher Ricketts.