OKLAHOMA CITY - East Carolina senior All-America Toni Paisley has been named to the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America Watch List for the 10th Annual Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award, according to an announcement by the organization. The honor, which is considered the most prestigious in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
After earning Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-America Third-Team honors a year ago, Paisley was selected as the Conference USA Preseason Pitcher-of-the-Year last week, marking the second-straight season she has received the honor.
"This is a great honor for Toni and our softball program," head coach Tracey Kee said. "Toni Paisley is a special student-athlete. She understands the concept of hard work and the importance of being mentally and physically tough. Every year of her career she has put her team in a position to win. Never has she rested on her laurels. Instead, she has trained more intensely each season. Being on this watch list is a credit to her effort."
Following the 2010 campaign in which she posted a 31-11 record with an East Carolina single-season record 356 strikeouts, the Lakewood, Calif., native repeated as a Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region Team member, Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Year and First-Team All-C-USA selection. In the Conference USA Tournament, she went 3-0 and struck out 20, earning Most Valuable Player honors while leading the Pirates to their first league tournament title. During the season, Paisley held opponents to a .159 batting average, including a .120 mark with two strikes. She also struck out 10 or more batters in a game 16 times.
Paisley enters her final campaign ranked second in Conference USA career strikeouts (894) and fourth in wins (86). She needs just 55 whiffs to pass former coach and 2007 teammate Keli Harrell for the ECU and league record and trails C-USA record-holder Lindsay Chouinard of DePaul in career victories by 22.
The 2011 preseason list comprises 50 players representing 36 schools and 15 NCAA Division I Conferences. The honorees include 23 seniors, 12 juniors and 15 sophomores. The ASA will announce the 25 finalists for the award on April 13 with the list being narrowed to 10 on May 11. The three finalists will be announced May 25 while the winner of the 2011 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2011 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Paisley and the Pirates begin the 2011 season Feb. 11-13 at the Red & Black Showcase in Athens, Ga.
2011 USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List
Name (School) - Year - Position - Hometown
Valerie Arioto (California) - Senior - Utility - Pleasanton, Calif.
Hillary Bach (Arizona State) - Junior - Pitcher - Tulsa, Okla.
Donna Bourgeois (Houston) - Senior - Pitcher - Lafayette, La.
Katelyn Boyd (Arizona State) - Junior - Infield - Phoenix, Ariz.
Kayla Braud (Alabama) - Sophomore - Infield - Eugene, Ore.
Stephanie Brombacher (Florida) - Senior - Pitcher - Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Anna Cahn (Cal Poly) - Senior - Pitcher/Designated Player - Los Alamitos, Calif.
Raven Chavanne (Tennessee) - Sophomore - Outfield - Thousand Oaks, Calif.
GiOnna DiSalvatore (UCLA) - Senior - Infield - Palm Harbor, Fla.
Kelsi Dunne (Alabama) - Senior - Pitcher - Port Orange, Fla.
Rachel Fico (LSU) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Oxford, Conn.
Kenzie Fowler (Arizona) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Tucson, Ariz.
Olivia Galati (Hofstra) - Sophomore - Pitcher - West Babylon, NY
Alisa Goler (Georgia) - Senior - Infield - Frankfort, Ill.
Melissa Gonzalez (Hawaii) - Senior - Infield - Moreno Valley, Calif.
Kelly Grieve (Tennessee) - Senior -Outfield -Asheville, N.C.
Ashley Guile (Nebraska) - Junior - Utility - Olathe, Kan.
Meredith Hackett (Illinois) - Junior - Infield - Corona, Calif.
Sarah Hamilton (Florida State) - Senior - Pitcher - Tallahassee, Fla.
Ashley Hansen (Stanford) - Junior - Infield - Chandler, Ariz.
Andrea Harrison (UCLA) - Junior - Outfield - Garden Grove, Calif.
Alicia Herron (Ohio State) - Junior - Shortstop - Cypress, Calif.
Alex Holmes (UC Davis) - Senior - Pitcher/DP - San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Whitney Kiihnl (Lipscomb) - Junior - Pitcher/Outfield - Batesville, Miss.
Brittany Lastrapes (Arizona) - Senior - Outfield - Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Blaire Luna (Texas) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Austin, Texas
Kelly Majam (Hawaii) - Sophomore - Outfield - Pine Valley, Calif.
Jenna Marston (Missouri) - Sophomore - Infield - St. Louis, Mo.
Meagan May (Texas A&M) - Sophomore - Catcher/1B - Spring, Texas
Morgan Melloh (Indiana) - Senior - Pitcher - Fishers, Ind.
Jen Mineau (Fordham) - Junior - Pitcher - Schaghticoke, N.Y.
Abby Olson (Illinois State) -Senior- Infield - Hartsburg, Ill.
Toni Paisley (East Carolina) - Senior - Pitcher/Utility - Lakewood, Calif.
Samantha Pappas (Oregon) - Sophomore - Outfield - Las Flores, Calif.
Sara Plourde (Massachusetts) - Junior - Pitcher - Bristol, Conn.
Jessica Purcell-Fitu (BYU) - Senior - Catcher - Walnut, Calif.
Jamia Reid (California) - Junior - Outfield - Buena Park, Calif.
Ivy Renfroe (Tennessee) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Jackson, Tenn.
Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) - Sophomore - Pitcher - San Jose, Calif.
Hope Rush (Georgia Tech) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Stockbridge, Ga.
Jenn Salling (Washington) - Senior - Infield - Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada
Taylor Schlopy (Georgia) - Senior - Outfield - West Hills, Calif.
Brittany Schutte (Florida) - Sophomore - Utility - Fountain Valley, Calif.
April Setterlund (Boston) - Senior - Outfield -Torrance, Calif.
Dorian Shaw (Michigan) - Senior - Infield - Burke, Va.
Kristen Shifflett (Radford) - Senior - Shortstop - Charlottesville, Va.
Jessica Shults (Oklahoma) - Sophomore - Catcher - Valencia, Calif.
Jordan Taylor (Michigan) - Senior - Pitcher - Valencia, Calif.
Rhea Taylor (Missouri) - Senior - Outfield - Buford, Ga.
Niki Williams (Washington) - Junior - Outfield - Mission Viejo, Calif.
italics indicates 2011 opponent