Oklahoma City, OK – USA Softball announced today freshman pitcher Monica Abbott (Salinas, CA) as its first ‘Player of the Week’ honoree for 2004. The Lady Vol left-handed pitcher recorded a spectacular performance in her opening weekend among the collegiate ranks. Leading her team to the Eighth Annual Paradise Classic title in Honolulu, HI, the 6’3” hurler posted a 6-0 record after a one-hit performance, perfect game, and a shutout in the championship game.
“Wow, I am in shock. This is really an honor and extremely exciting,” Abbott said. “I was really nervous for this weekend. Our catcher (Brittany Bessho) is also a freshman and we have been working really hard, but were both so nervous going into every game. But our team picked me up and played really played well with great defense behind me.”
In her Division I debut, Abbott twirled a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts and a walk in an 8-0 win against Saint Mary’s. The no-hitter was just the seventh ever for UT. She then fanned 10 Brigham Young hitters and picked up the win during five innings of relief before going all the way to shut down UAB, 9-1, that included eight more strikeouts.
Against tournament host Hawaii, Abbott became the second Lady Vol to hurl a perfect game, as she notched 13 strikeouts and mowed down all 21 Rainbow Wahine batters who stepped to the plate in the 2-0 win. Against Hawaii in the semifinal round of the tournament, she retired nine batters via strikeout and did not allow an earned run as the Big Orange claimed a 4-1 victory.
In the championship contest against No. 23 Oregon State, she matched Tennessee’s single-game record of 15 strikeouts and twirled a six-hit shutout as the Lady Vols avenged a 2-0 loss to the Beavers in pool play with a 2-0 win to take home the hardware. On the weekend, Abbott had three shutouts and opponents batted just .132 against her. The lefty also tallied 68 strikeouts and walked only four batters. For her efforts, she was tabbed as the Most Outstanding Pitcher of the tournament for the victorious Lady Volunteers.
“I think Monica is a truly an outstanding player in every aspect of the game,” head coach Ralph Weekly said. “She is a hard worker and one of those players that only comes along every 10 or 12 years. She is definitely an impact player and we are fortunate to have her here with us at Tennessee. Monica and catcher Brittany Bessho have a created a team through many hours of practice and are going to make a strong battery line up for us.”
The USA Softball National Player of the Week is designed to acknowledge outstanding athletic achievement by individuals on a weekly basis. Each recipient of the USA Softball National Player of the Week Award will receive an engraved plaque and will be national recognized for their accomplishments. A complete list of winners can be found on the USA Softball web site at www.usasoftball.com.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of amateur softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. As the National Governing Body, the ASA is responsible for identifying, selecting and training male and female athletes to compete in World, Pan American and Olympic competitions. It is also responsible for promoting and growing the sport of softball across the country
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