Arioto Makes Prestigious ASA Player of the Year Top-10 List

May 12, 2010

BERKELEY - California softball junior Valerie Arioto has been named one of the best 10 players in the nation, making the cut for the top-10 contenders for the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA)'s watch list for the ninth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered the most prestigious honors in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The winner will be announced at the opening of the NCAA 2010 Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

'It is an immense honor to me to be selected for this list,' Arioto commented Wednesday. 'It shows that all my hard work is paying off. My teammates play a big part in this because of their support on and off the field. Without them and my coaches, I would not be getting any recognition.'

The Top 10 finalists were selected by a panel, which includes Division I coaches and other individuals involved at the highest levels of the game, from the list of Top-25 Finalists released in April. A Top 50 Watch List was released in January, although players did not have to be included on the Watch List to become a finalist.

Similar to this year, Arioto was named to the top-50 and top-25 list, but this is the first time she has progressed to the highly competitive and widely respected top-10 finalist list.

'I think it also speaks to how far the Cal program has come, and will continue to go,' Arioto said. 'Although this is an individual honor, I obviously could not do it without the support of my teammates, family and coaches.'

Arioto is second on the squad with a .366 batting average and paces the Bears with her .813 slugging and .588 on-base percentage. She also has a team-high 16 homers and a conference-leading 68 walks.

In the circle, the Pleasanton, Calif., native is 19-8 overall with a 1.36 ERA, which is 20th in nation and third in the conference. She has also issued 243 strikeouts and has limited her batters to just a .171 batting average.

The Top 10 Finalists represent 10 schools and five different NCAA Division I conferences. The list is comprised of five seniors, one junior, one sophomore and three freshmen. The final three finalists will be announced May 26 while the winner of the 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the World Series action at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Pac-10 Conference has four finalists on the list - Arioto, Kenzie Fowler of Arizona, UCLA's Megan Langenfeld and last year's winner in UW's Danielle Lawrie.

2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 10 Finalists
Name (School) - Year - Position - Hometown
Valerie Arioto (California) - Junior - Utility - Pleasanton, Calif.
Chelsea Bramlett (Mississippi State) - Senior - Catcher/Infield - Cordova, Tenn.
Kayla Braud (Alabama) - Freshman - Infielder - Eugene, Ore.
Francesca Enea (Florida) - Senior - Outfield - Woodland Hills, Calif.
Kenzie Fowler (Arizona) - Freshman - Pitcher - Tucson, Ariz.
Megan Langenfeld (UCLA) - Senior - Pitcher/First Base - Bakersfield, Calif.
Danielle Lawrie (Washington) - Senior - Pitcher - Langley, B.C.
Blaire Luna (Texas) - Freshman - Pitcher - Austin, Texas
Jen Mineau (Fordham) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Schaghticoke, N.Y.
Jen Yee (Georgia Tech) - Senior - Second Base - North Delta, B.C.

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