OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Jacksonville State senior Nikki Prier has been named to the Amateur Softball Association's Top 50 Watch List for the 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the ASA announced on Wednesday.
Prier, a first baseman from Raleigh, N.C., is one of 27 seniors on the preliminary list of favorites for the ninth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I softball. The watch list will be cut to 25 finalists on April 7, and those will be broken down twice more before a winner will be announced prior to the start of the 2010 Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
"It's always rewarding to see a student athlete that works so hard, both on and off the field, and plays the game the right way receive recognition for their accomplishments," JSU head coach Jana McGinnis said. "This is a group of the elite players in Division I softball and Nikki is very deserving to be included. We are looking for great things from her as a senior, both as a player and as a leader."
Prier becomes the first Gamecock on the watch list after earning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year recognition as a junior. She was a First Team All-OVC and First Team All-Region performer in guiding the Gamecocks to a 46-13 record and the Ohio Valley Conference championship before winning the NCAA Knoxville Regional to become the first OVC team to advance to the Super Regional.
She led the OVC in hitting with a .379 average, while also finishing tops in doubles (20), RBI (50) and total bases (125). She also had 67 hits and belted 12 home runs en route to a .706 slugging percentage. Prier averaged 0.35 doubles per game, 10th best in the nation, to guide JSU to lead the nation with 1.83 two-baggers per game. Her 20 doubles were the fourth-most in a season in school history.
Prier enters her senior campaign chasing several of JSU's career records. She ranks second in career doubles with 51, while also ranking four in RBI (122), sixth in home runs (30) and runs (120) and eighth in hits (184).
The Gamecocks, who were picked to win their fourth OVC title in six years in the league's preseason poll, will open the 2010 season on Feb. 13 at the Kennesaw State K-Club Classic in Kennesaw, Ga. Their first home game will be on Feb. 18, when future Ohio Valley Conference foe SIU-Edwardsville pays a visit to University Field. The team's annual Fan Day will be Feb. 7, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at University Field. The Gamecocks will be on hand, and free t-shirts, popcorn, drinks, games and other prizes will be given away. Admission to Fan Day and all of the Gamecocks' home games is free.
2010 USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List
Name (School) – Year – Position – Hometown
Valerie Arioto (California) – Junior – Utility – Pleasanton, Calif.
Donna Bourgeois (ULL) – Junior – Pitcher – Lafayette, La.
Chelsea Bramlett (Mississippi State) – Senior – Catcher/Infield – Cordova, Tenn.
Stephanie Brombacher (Florida) – Junior – Pitcher – Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Neena Bryant (Oregon) –Senior – Outfield - Placentia, Calif.
Anna Cahn (Cal Poly) – Junior – Pitcher/Designated Player – Los Alamitos, Calif.
Whitney Canion (Baylor) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Aledo, Texas
Stacie Chambers (Arizona) – RS-Junior – Catcher – Glendale, Ariz.
Lauren Delaney (Northwestern) – Senior – Pitcher – Jefferson City, Mo.
Krista Donnenwirth (Arizona State) – Junior - SS/Third Base – Mission Viejo, Calif.
Kelsi Dunne (Alabama) – Junior – Pitcher – Port Orange, Fla.
Francesca Enea (Florida) – Senior – Outfield – Woodland Hills, Calif.
Amber Flores (Oklahoma) – Senior – Infield – Calexico, Calif.
Alisa Goler (Georgia) – Junior – Infield – Frankfort, Ill.
Kelly Grieve (Tennessee) – Junior –Outfield –Asheville, N.C.
Alissa Haber (Stanford) – Senior – Outfield- Newark, Calif.
Sarah Hamilton (Florida State) – Junior – Pitcher – Tallahassee, Fla.
Ashley Hansen (Stanford) – Sophomore – Infield – Chandler, Ariz.
Becca Heteniak (DePaul) – Senior – Pitcher - Simi Valley, Calif.
Katie Holverson (Nevada) – Senior – Pitcher – Anthem, Ariz.
Tiffany Huff (Tennessee) – Senior – Catcher/First Base – Saugus, Calif.
Molly Johnson (Kentucky) – Senior –Infield – Tucson, Ariz.
Megan Langenfeld (UCLA) – Senior – Pitcher/First Base – Bakersfield, Calif.
Brittany Lastrapes (Arizona) – Junior – Outfield - Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Danielle Lawrie (Washington) – Senior - Pitcher – Langley, British Columbia
Sam Marder (Ohio State) – Senior – Catcher - Calabasas, Calif.
Morgan Melloh (Fresno State) – Junior - Pitcher – Fishers, Ind.
Rachel Mitchell (LSU) – Senior – Outfield – LaPorte, Texas
Adrienne Monka (Northwestern) – Sophomore – Infield – Rancho Cucamongo, Calif.
Charlotte Morgan (Alabama) – Senior – Pitcher/Utility – Moreno Valley, Calif.
Nikki Nemitz (Michigan) – Senior – Pitcher – St. Clair Shores, Mich.
Carly Normandin (Massachusetts) – Senior – Outfield – Gardner, Mass.
Tara Oltman (Creighton) – Senior – Pitcher – Cortland, Neb.
Kimi Pohlman (Washington) – Sophomore – Outfield - Sammamish, Wash.
Nikki Prier (Jacksonville State) – Senior – Infield – Raleigh, N.C.
Jessica Purcell-Fitu (BYU) – Junior – Catcher – Walnut, Calif.
Melissa Roth (Louisville) – Senior – Catcher – Long Beach, Calif.
Katie Schroeder (UCLA) – Junior – Outfield – Yorba Linda, Calif.
Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) – Junior – Pitcher/Outfield – West Hills, Calif.
Kirsten Shortridge (LSU) – Senior – Pitcher/Outfield– Keller, Texas
Kaila Shull (UCLA) –Senior – Catcher/Outfield – Lodi, Calif.
Danielle Spaulding (North Carolina) – Senior – First Base/Pitcher - Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Rhea Taylor (Missouri) – Junior – Outfield – Buford, Ga.
Chelsea Thomas (Missouri) – Sophomore – Utility – Pleasantville, Iowa
Brooke Turner (Long Beach State) – Junior – Pitcher – Buena Park, Calif.
Maggie Viefhaus (Michigan) - Senior – Infielder – Pacific, Mo.
Kristen Wadwell (Louisville) – Senior – Pitcher/Infield – Sydney, Australia
Amberley Waits (Louisiana Tech) – Senior – Infield – Cleburne, Texas
Kelsi Weseman (Georgia Tech) – Sophomore – Infield – Hutto, Texas
Jen Yee (Georgia Tech) - Senior - Second Base – North Delta, British Columbia