April 8, 2004
Oklahoma City, OK –
For the second year in a row, Seminole softball All-American Jessica van der Linden has been named a finalist for USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year award. The senior from Cerritos, CA made it into the top 10 last season and she is now one of 25 players being considered for the honor in 2004. van der Linden is one of just eight players to make the top 25 the last two seasons.
“It feels great to be on this impressive list. It is truly an honor,” said van der Linden. “One of my goals this year is to get further than what I did last year, which was a top 10 finish. It is an awesome honor to be a finalist two years in a row. I feel privileged to be on the list.”
The pitcher/outfielder leads FSU in batting average (.380), RBIs (37), walks (27), on base percentage (.497) and game-winning RBIs (12). She has been even more impressive in the circle. The senior is 18-3 with a 0.31 ERA. She has wins over No. 7 Washington, No. 17 Oklahoma, No. 9 Michigan, No. 13 Fresno State and No. 22 Georgia Tech. She leads FSU in ERA, opponent batting average (.121), strikeouts (220) and she has allowed just 10 runs in 135 innings.
This year van der Linden has become just the second Seminole ever to post four consecutive 30+ RBI seasons. She is only the fourth FSU pitcher ever to record 200+ strikeouts in back-to-back seasons and just the third Tribe hurler with 700 career K’s and a 200 strikeout season. The Cerritos, CA already owns the career record for doubles and she is poised to become FSU’s all-time RBI and walks leader before the season ends.
“I am more focused on team goals than any personal honors right now but the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is something that I have made a personal goal,” said van der Linden. “Being a finalist and maybe even winning this award would be the icing on a great year.”
The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, and USA Softball announced the 25 finalists for the 2004 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award Wednesday. The award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women’s collegiate softball and is the only national player of the year award, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
The list will be reduced to ten players on April 28 and three finalists will be announced May 11. The winner of the 2004 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced May 26 at the opening ceremonies of the NCAA College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK. The winner will be recognized and presented with the Player of the Year trophy during the ASA National Council Meeting in Mobile, Alabama, in November.
A replica of the award will be placed in a permanent display in the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, along with photos of the winner. An additional replica of the award will be presented to the player’s academic institution.