OKLAHOMA CITY – The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today that Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (Chandler, Ariz.) was selected the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Hansen, also the 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year, helped lead Stanford to a Super Regional Appearance, finishing the year with a .495 batting average, third best in the nation. For the first time since 2002, the inaugural year of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, softball’s highest award was not given to a pitcher. Three-time Olympian Stacey Nuveman Deniz (La Verne, Calif.) was the inaugural winner and is the only other position player to have won this award.
“My team has been there for me through thick and thin this year, really the past three years. I know that its not just me out there. I have eight other girls in the lineup who are capable of getting the job done and that takes a lot of pressure off of me,” said Hansen. “I wish we were here but congratulations to the eight teams here and good luck this week.”
More outstanding than her batting average or her on base percentage of .558 was the fact that in 192 at-bats, the junior only struck out five times all season, making her the second toughest player in the nation to strike out. Also named the Pac-10 Batting Champion, her average is the highest single season mark in school history. Hansen is just the second Stanford player to be named to the All-Pac-10 first team in each of her first three seasons. She also set a new Stanford single season record for hits in a season with 95, breaking Jessica Mendoza's record of 94 set in 2000.
“From the first day that she set foot on campus, we knew she was not only a special player but a special person. If you are around her you see right away how likeable she is and how she just does things the right way. You don’t become the player she is without a lot of hard work and dedication while learning from those around you,” said Stanford Head Coach John Rittman. “This is huge for Stanford and our program to have someone recognized as National Player of the Year. I am so proud of Ashley and all her accomplishments. She is such a team player and very deserving of this honor.”
Hansen led the Pac-10 in batting average (.495), hits (95) and doubles (25) while tying fellow finalist Katelyn Boyd (Phoenix, Ariz.) with on-base percentage (.558). Her 25 doubles also lead the nation while she ranks second in the Pac-10 in slugging percentage (.797).
The other two finalists for the 2011 award were Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa) and Pac-10 First-Team honoree Boyd.