April 10, 2003
Tallahassee, FL –
The Amateur Softball Association announced its 25 finalists for the 2003 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award Wednesday and Seminole junior Jessica van der Linden was amongst the group. The pitcher/outfielder is in the midst of one of the most amazing all-around seasons in 25 years of Florida State softball. If she were to win the award, van der Linden would be the first Seminole to garner such an honor since 1981 when Darby Cottle was named the USOC Best Amateur Softball Player in the Nation.
“I was shocked and so excited when I heard the news. It is such an honor,” said van der Linden. “I was so surprised. I really don’t focus on individual awards but it is hard not to be a little excited about this.”
Van der Linden is currently leading the team in average (.432), hits (48), doubles (10), walks (34) and on base percentage (.566). She is second on the team in RBIs (21), total bases (60) and slugging percentage (.541). With her 10 doubles this season she not only became the first Seminole to ever post three consecutive seasons of 10 or more doubles but she also tied the all-time school career doubles record with 38. She is currently tied for the highest single season batting average ever at Florida State and could become just the fourth player in the last 20 years to hit over .400 for an entire season at FSU.
She has also been dominant in the circle, especially over the last five weeks. The Cerritos, CA native is 11-4 with a 1.12 ERA in 20 appearances this year. She has four shutouts, 11 complete games, allowed just 20 earned runs and has a strike out to walk ratio of over 5 to 1. Her 180 strikeouts this season are a career best and she has fanned double digit batters in six straight starts and in nine of her last ten starts. She is also currently in the midst of a 29 inning scoreless streak and a five game winning streak. On top of her hitting and pitching, van der Linden is also fielding 1.000 in the outfield and inside the circle playing error free ball in 42 chances.
“The nomination is a credit to Jessica’s hard work not just this year but throughout her softball career,” said head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf. “She has always set very high standards for herself and she really works to meet those. She is have just an awesome year and I am so happy she is being considered for that honor.”
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 final list is comprised of 25 players that represent 19 colleges and 9 different Conferences. The list will be reduced to ten players on April 29 and three finalists will be announced May 13. The winner of the 2003 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced May 21 at the opening ceremonies of the NCAA College World Series in Oklahoma City, OK.