OKLAHOMA CITY Ė Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) has been named the 2012 USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year while Dennis Rulli (Moorpark, Calif.) was selected as the Male Athlete of the Year, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. Jerlin Rutt (Bernville, Pa.) has also been selected as the Athlete of the Year from the Junior Menís National Team program.
Second-year infielder Arioto followed up her senior season at California with an outstanding summer playing for Team USA. The 23-year-old saw action in 24 of the teamís 25 games and helped lead the Red, White and Blue to a World Cup Championship and Silver medal finishes in the Canadian Open Championship and International Softball Federation (ISF) Womenís World Championship. Arioto was named the Batting MVP of the Canadian Open Championship after finishing the event with five home runs and 13 RBI.
ďIím so honored to be named 2012 USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year,Ē said Arioto. ďThe supported Iíve received from my family, my Team USA family and my Cal family has been tremendous and I wouldnít be where I am without their help.Ē
Arioto batted .462 on the year with 11 home runs, 37 RBI and 27 runs. She had an on-base percentage of .611 with a 1.115 slugging percentage. The slugger finished the 2012 campaign leading Team USA in six offensive statistical categories including: runs scored, RBI, home runs, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and walks.
In his third stint with the USA Menís Slow Pitch National Team, Dennis Rulli helped the Americans extend their Border Battle record to 3-1 over the Canadians with a 32-21 win in 2012. The infielder finished the game going four-for-five with two home runs, four RBI and three runs scored.
ďItís a tremendous honor to be named the USA Softball Male Athlete of the Year for 2012,Ē said Rulli. ďWithout supportive teammates, sponsors and family I would have never had this opportunity. After 24 years of playing slow pitch, itís still a very exciting and humbling sport and Iím very thankful to the ASA and USA Softball for such an unforgettable experience playing for Team USA.Ē
In four games with the USA Slow Pitch Team in 2012 Rulli went 14-of-18 from the plate for a .778 batting average and scored 13 runs. The California native hit five home runs and two doubles while picking up 10 RBI.
In November, Jerlin Rutt led the 2012 USA Softball Junior Menís National Team to its best finish at an ISF World Championship in 27 years. The squad went 5-3 to take fifth place overall in the event. Rutt finished with a 4-2 record and a 2.52 ERA from the circle.
ďI had a wonderful experience playing with the USA Junior Menís National Team this past year,Ē said Rutt. ďIím honored to be named the Junior Menís Player of the Year but the success that we had in Argentina was a team effort. I want to thank my family and teammates for the support that have given me.Ē
The right hander from Pennsylvania struck out 38 batters in 33.1 innings pitched during the tournament. He threw complete games in five of his six outings and run-ruled opponents in three of the contests. Ruttís most impressive game came in a pool-play matchup with a powerful New Zealand team. Jerlin began the game with three-consecutive shutout innings, giving the American bats time to take a three-run advantage. New Zealand managed to put four runs on the board in the latter innings of the game but Team USA got two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the win and guarantee themselves a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The 2013 season for the USA Softball National teams program will kick off this weekend as the Men's National team take the field wearing the Red, White and Blue in Altamonte Springs, Fla. January 17-20. Visit http://www.usasoftball.com/ for updates and results. The 2013 season for the Women's National team program will be announced at a later date.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.
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