The Amateur Softball Association of America announced Tuesday that outfielder Ashley Hansen of Stanford is the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Missouri pitcher Chelsea Thomas was one of three finalists for the award.
Thomas is the Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year, and her ERA of 0.83 is the best in the nation heading into the Women’s College World Series. She has a record of 31-6 and has recorded a school record 365 strikeouts this season. Thomas, a redshirt sophomore, missed most of last season with a stress fracture in her pitching arm but has thrown 245.2 of 400 innings for Missouri in 2011.
Hansen, already named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, led the conference in several offensive categories. She recorded a batting average of .495 with 95 hits, 25 doubles and 45 RBIs. She posted a slugging percentage of .797 and an on-base percentage of .585.
The third finalist for the award was shortstop Katelyn Boyd of Arizona State. Boyd is hitting .444 with 60 RBIs and 17 home runs.
Thomas and the No. 5-seeded Tigers play their first game of the 2011 Women’s College World Series against No. 4 Florida at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Oklahoma City.