Keilani Ricketts joined a group of collegiate softball stars she considered legends.
On her long list of accolades — between the shutouts and the strikeouts — Ricketts added one more honor Tuesday when she was named the 2013 national player of the year by the Amateur Softball Association and USA Softball.
Oklahoma's No. 1 pitcher also won the award last year as a junior. She is the third player to win this award more than once, joining Texas' Cat Osterman (who won it three times) and Washington's Danielle Lawrie, a two-time winner. All three are pitchers.
“I guess it just doesn't really feel real,” Ricketts said. “It feels really surreal to be in that category. They're girls that I've looked up to in my career. Just to be up there with them is definitely an honor.”
Ricketts received the honor Tuesday evening during the opening banquet for the Women's College World Series.
Ricketts beat out two other finalists, teammate Lauren Chamberlain and Tennessee's Raven Chavanne, for the award.
Ricketts fueled the Sooners back to the WCWS after they lost in the finals last year to Alabama. The Big 12 Pitcher of the Year is 31-1 with a 1.22 ERA this season. In 207 1/3 innings she has given up 112 hits, 39 runs, 36 earned runs and 49 walks with 311 strikeouts.
At the plate, Ricketts is hitting .375 (third best on the team) with 51 hits, six doubles, 13 home runs and 96 RBIs.
“I feel like it's definitely an honor to win the award with the girls I was going against who had an amazing season so far,” Ricketts said. “I know that there's no way I'd be able to do that without the season my team has had and without the support that my coaches and team have given me this year.”
The Sooners play Michigan in the opening round of the WCWS Thursday night.