TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With a career of outstanding offensive and defensive plays that made her a star in the collegiate softball world, Jessie Warren shined on the national stage last night as she attended the 2018 ESPYS as one of four finalists for the award of Best Play.
With the Seminoles holding a 1-0 lead over No. 5 Washington in the first game of the 2018 WCWS Championship Series, Taryn Atlee hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh for the Huskies. A sacrifice bunt attempt by Trysten Melhart in front of the plate seemed perfectly placed to move the runner in scoring position or possibly land for a base hit. Warren read the play perfectly and made an outstanding diving catch and tossed to Sydney Sherrill at first base for the double play. Florida State held on to win 1-0, and earned its first NCAA National Championship a day later with an 8-3 victory as Warren was named WCWS Most Outstanding Player.
Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale took home the ESPY this year in the category with her buzzer-beater against Mississippi State to win the 2018 NCAA National Championship. The other two finalists were the “Philly Special” from Super Bowl LII as Trey Burton tossed a fourth-down touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles to give the Eagles a 22-12 lead in the first half, and Blake Peters’ 80-foot buzzer beater in a win for Evanston High School.
“My experience at the ESPYS was unbelievable,” said Warren. “Being surrounded by so many successful athletes and seeing how much they inspire me was awesome. Although I didn’t win the award, ESPN capturing that moment allowed me to inspire so many other young girls in the game of softball and representing the sport of softball at the ESPYS, that’s all that matters. No award can put a label on the inspiration I have provided for athletes around the world.
“The reason I was here was because of the hard work that Team 35 showed this past year, I couldn’t have been put in that position without their hard work and providing me the opportunity to make that play and winning the National Championship. If there was a way to have all 22 of those girls and those coaches sitting with me in that theatre I would have loved sharing that moment with them that much more. The moments I had this past year will forever be remembered and kept close to my heart.”
Jessie ended her career as one of the best to ever play softball at Florida State, in the ACC and in the history of the NCAA as she finished with the FSU and ACC records for home runs (83), RBI (273), runs scored (229) and slugging percentage (.820). The 273 RBI ranks eighth in NCAA history, while the 83 HR are tied for eighth all-time and her .820 slugging percentage is the 13th-best in college softball history. She also set the school record for career batting average (.391) and tied for the most doubles in a career (51), while finishing second in FSU history with 289 hits, third with 515 defensive assists and sixth all-time with 121 walks
Warren was named an NFCA All-American for the third consecutive season in 2018 and is just the fourth Seminole in program history to be a three-time All-American. She was selected as the ACC Player of the Year for the second year in a row and received All-ACC First Team honors for the fourth time, becoming just the second player in league history to be named to the All-ACC First Team in all four seasons.
The Tampa, Fla., native tied a Women’s College World Series record with 13 hits and finished with a .520 batting average, two doubles, two home runs, four RBI and six runs scored in Oklahoma City to earn 2018 WCWS Most Outstanding Player honors. She was named ACC Player of the Week three times (Feb 27, May 1, May 7) and was drafted No. 7 overall in the 2018 National Pro Fastpitch Draft by the USSSA Pride.
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