Fleming, Thomas Named to Annual Preseason Watch List
COLUMBIA -- Missouri senior outfielder Ashley Fleming and redshirt junior pitcher Chelsea Thomas have been selected to USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year Top-50 Watch List, as announced Wednesday morning by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA).
Last year, Fleming followed up her breakout sophomore season with an outstanding junior season and was selected as an NFCA Second Team All-American. The Tiger right fielder led the team in almost all major offensive stats, including batting average (.356), doubles (16), home runs (14), runs batted in (62), slugging percentage (.701) and on-base percentage (.452). She also scored 52 runs, walked 26 times and was a perfect 16-for-16 in stolen bases.
Thomas was one of three finalists for this award last season after leading the nation with a 0.95 earned run average. She went 32-8 on the season with 31 complete games, 13 shutouts and 397 strikeouts to just 53 walks in 271.1 innings pitched. Opponents posted a batting average of just .155 against her. Along with being a Player of the Year Finalist, Thomas was a First Team All-American and made the Women's College World Series All-Tournament Team last year.
The pre-season "Watch List" includes 23 seniors, 20 juniors and seven sophomores, with freshman ineligible for consideration for the pre-season watch list. The Top 25 Finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 11. While an athlete does not have to be on the "Watch List" to be considered for the Top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the Top 25 Finalists.
The Top 10 Finalists will be announced May 9 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 23. On May 29 prior to the start of the 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.