Keilani Ricketts, the softball standout from Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), was chosen in a close call for Ms. Softball USA honors over two-time Gatorade National Player of the Year Kenzie Fowler from Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.). The difference was slight, but Ricketts got the nod for going undefeated in the circle for her senior year and for leading her team to an undefeated record. Fowler led her team to a third straight state title, but also suffered a pair of losses.
Ricketts pitched a three-hit shutout in her final game, a 3-0 win over Presentation of San Jose in the CIF Central Coast Section Division II final. The victory put Mitty's final season record at 32-0 and cemented the Monarchs' status as the No. 1 team in the final ESPN RISE FAB 50 national rankings. But her most impressive outing of the season came in April at the Livermore Stampede when Mitty took down then-FAB 50 national No. 1 Sheldon of Sacramento 5-2 in the title game. Ricketts smashed a three-run homer in the first inning off fellow EA Sports All-American Jolene Henderson and also ended with 20 strikeouts.
For the season, Ricketts compiled a 22-0 pitching mark with an ERA of 0.10 and 347 strikeouts. In the batter's box, she racked up a .456 average with nine homers, four triples, six doubles, 36 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .975.
Coach of the Year Wayne Daigle led Smithson Valley High (Spring Branch, Texas) to the Class 5A state title. The Rangers finished 31-5 and were No. 7 in the final ESPN RISE FAB 50 national rankings. The state title was the second for Daigle in his 13 years at the school, with the first coming in 2001. Daigle reportedly said the title game will be his last, as he plans to retire. The 62-year-old compiled a 347-75 record in his 13 years at Smithson Valley and also coached softball at the major college and small college levels. At Nebraska from 1983-86, Daigle guided the Cornhuskers to the Women's College World Series twice. He then went to Sam Houston State where his teams won the NAIA national title once and the NCAA Division II crown once.
The EA SPORTS All-America softball team was selected by the ESPNRISE.com staff.
2009 EA Sports Softball All-Americans First Team
Taylor Edwards (Vista Murrieta/Murrieta, Calif.), Junior
Edwards is already regarded as one of the most impressive hitters from the competitive Inland Empire region of California. She hit .571 last season with 15 homers, 52 RBIs and had an on-base percentage of .649. Her twin sister, Tatum, nearly made the second team. With both back next year, watch out for Vista Murrieta in the ESPN RISE FAB 50.
Courtney Liddle (Battlefield/Haymarket, Va.), Junior
Liddle earned her second straight Cedar Run District Player of the Year award after hitting well over .500 and leading Battlefield to a high ranking in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Entering the year, she had a career batting average over .500 and was an All-America selection as a junior. She has signed with Virginia Tech.
Jessica Shults (Hart/Newhall, Calif.), Senior
The Santa Clarita Valley and Foothill League Player of the Year awards recipient batted .448 with 27 RBIs, 10 home runs and 26 runs scored. Shults had a .415 career batting average and will play for Oklahoma next season.
Dallas Escobedo (St. Mary's/Phoenix), Junior
Escobedo and the St. Mary's softball team didn't end the season as they had hoped, but that didn't keep this Arizona State-bound pitcher from putting together an impressive season on the mound. Escobedo was 24-3, threw 13 no-hitters, two perfect games and struck out 402 on the season. She was also named to the Arizona all-state team for the third time.
Kasey Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.), Junior
The Gatorade state player of the year helped the Tigers to a 32-1 record and the state Class 4A title as well as a FAB 50 No. 4 national ranking. She was 24-1 on the mound and allowed only one postseason run as the Tigers bested Lake Wales 3-1 in the finals. She also batted .600 and had 60 runs scored.
Rachele Fico (Masuk/Monroe, Conn.), Senior
This LSU-bound standout was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Connecticut for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. She led Masuk to two state championships in her four years. This year, Fico broke the national record for career perfect games and pushed the new record total to 26. On top of that, she has recorded 47 no-hitters, 95 shutouts, 1,887 strikeouts with a 0.07 ERA and a 105-3 record over her four years.
Kenzie Fowler (Canyon del Oro/Tucson, Ariz.), Senior
There is no doubt about Fowler's ability. She's the only player to be named the National Gatorade Player of the Year two years in a row. One of the best pitchers in the country, she allowed only 23 hits this season and walked 16 in 160.2 innings. She was 25-2 on the mound with an 0.05 ERA and 344 strikeouts. This season, she also threw six no-hitters and three perfect games. Pitching aside, Fowler can also hit with the best of them. She batted an impressive .466 with seven homers and 45 RBIs and a .795 slugging percentage. This is the fourth time that Fowler has made the EA Sports All-American list. She compiled a 105-8 career record, striking out 1,449 with an ERA of 0.15 in 685.1 innings. She threw 30 no-hitters in four years and collected a school-record 161 hits at the plate. She will continue her career at softball powerhouse Arizona.
Jolene Henderson (Sheldon/Sacramento, Calif.), Senior
Playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, the Cal-bound senior dominated at the Nike Faster to First tournament, not allowing a single run in five games. On the year, she finished 28-2 with 352 strikeouts while walking just 30 in 192 2/3 innings with a 0.29 ERA. At the plate, she batted for a .388 average with nine doubles and knocked in 27 runs. This is her second straight All-American first-team honor.
Keilani Ricketts (Archbishop Mitty/San Jose, Calif.), Senior
This is the second straight year for a Californian to earn the EA Sports Ms. Softball USA honor. Last year, it went to Valencia (Santa Clarita) High's Jessica Spigner (now at Tennessee). Two years ago, the honoree was Kelsi Dunne from Spruce Creek of Port Orange, Fla. (now at Alabama).
Jaclyn Traina (Naples, Fla.), Junior
The Class 4A Player of the Year and Alabama recruit went 19-2 on the mound with 200 strikeouts in 119 1/3 innings and allowed only three earned runs (0.18 ERA). At the plate, she batted .418 with four homers and 41 RBIs. She has earned three Naples Area Player of the Year awards.
Bailey Watts (Smithson Valley/Spring Branch, Texas), Senior
Watts led the Rangers to a Class 5A state championship. She went 27-2 on the mound with 237 strikeouts and a 0.28 ERA. One thing Watts does best is finish strong. The Houston-bound pitcher shut out eight of the past nine teams she faced, seven of which were in the postseason. She was named all-state for the 2009 season.
Barthinia Bates (Victor Valley/Victorville, Calif.), Senior
Bates, a slappy infielder with some pop in her bat, batted .758, and despite that total actually saw her average drop from last year's mark of .765. Bates added seven homers and 36 RBIs for the Jackrabbits. In her 80 plate appearances, she recorded 50 hits and 14 walks while striking out just twice. She will play for UCLA next year.
Kayla Braud (Marist/Eugene, Ore.), Senior
It was a history-making season for Braud as she finished her career on a 103-game hitting streak, a streak that started 10 games into her freshman season. The previous national record was 46 games. Braud batted .635 on the season with four homers, 42 RBIs and an impressive 1.049 slugging percentage. In her four years at Marist, she racked up some impressive numbers, including a career batting average of .612, 108 RBIs, 211 runs scored, and 111 stolen bases in 117 attempts. She has been an all-state selection since her freshman year. With her help on offense, the Spartans won their second straight state championship. Braud will continue her career at Alabama in the fall.
Kelsey Cartwright (Goodpasture/Madison, Tenn.), Senior
The Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee batted .480 with 12 homers, 12 doubles, 36 RBIs, 52 runs scored and 17 steals. She only struck out three times in 123 at-bats. Cartwright will leave Goodpasture with several school records under her belt, including batting average (.470), homers (44), doubles (71) and RBIs (191).
Bridgett Del Ponte (Sunrise Mountain/Peoria, Ariz.), Senior
A shortstop with superb defensive skills, Del Ponte batted .495 with 35 RBIs and 48 runs scored to lead the Mustangs, who won their second straight Class 4A Division II state title. Del Ponte will play with the Arizona Wildcats next season.
Baillie Kirker (Crescenta Valley, La Crescenta, Calif.), Senior
Kirker ended her prep career as the all-time career home run leader in California with 53 after hitting a homer in her final at-bat to break the tie. With 16 homers in her senior season, she ended her high school career with totals of 178 runs, 188 RBIs and a .569 batting average. She will now look to continue her home run display in college at Arizona.
Amy Knapp (Lakeshore/Stevenson, Mich.), Senior
The state's Miss Softball Position Player, and University of Michigan recruit, starred for the Lancers for four years: three at shortstop and one year in right field. The three-time all-stater and leadoff hitter batted .505 as a senior for a 32-7 record team. She also had a .425 career batting mark and a .952 fielding percentage.
Kourtney Salvarola (Broadneck/Annapolis, Md.), Senior
Salvarola led her high school to its first Class 4A state championship. Broadneck went 20-0 and Salvarola was responsible for 12 of those wins on the mound, including the title game. She finished with a 0.90 ERA, but at the plate she was even better. She batted .619 and finished with seven homers, six triples, 28 RBIs and 30 runs. The junior has committed to play at the University of South Florida.
Brittany Walker (Klein Oak/Klein, Texas), Senior
Although their season was cut short, Walker shined for the Panthers. She batted .542 on the season with 52 hits and a team-leading 12 stolen bases in 96 at-bats. She was named the female athlete of the year at her school and was first-team all-district for the third straight season. For the past two years, she also has been named a first-team All-Greater Houston selection. Walker will continue her career next year at Florida.
Emily Allard (Deer Valley/Antioch, Calif.), Senior
She put the finishing touches on a busy high school career with seven triples while hitting for a .513 average. In the circle, her career strikeout total eclipsed 600 as she struck out 604 batters and allowed batters to bat a combined .167 with a career ERA of 0.94. She also excelled on the basketball court, where she led the team in scoring, rebounding and steals, but will concentrate on softball at Northwestern next season.
Lindsey Barsoum (Poteet/Mesquite, Texas), Senior
The Texas Girls Coaches Association Athlete of the Year for Class 5A and 4A combined, Barsoum led Poteet to the 4A state semifinals. Throughout the season, she recorded a hit in all but three of her games and went on a 30-game hitting streak. The Central Arkansas signee was named all-state after batting .472 with 51 runs scored, 23 RBIs and 19 stolen bases.
Hallie Wilson (Foothill/Tustin, Calif.), Sophomore
This was just her sophomore season, but Wilson already has committed to Arizona and strikes fear into opposing pitchers from the leadoff position with her power and speed. For the year, she batted .526 with eight homers, 11 doubles, scored 42 runs and drove in 31 runs. She was named the Orange County Player of the Year by the Orange County Register.
Shelby Babcock (Legacy/Broomfield, Colo.), Junior
Babcock plays a fall high school season in Colorado and was too impressive to leave off this team. The University of Arizona recruit led Legacy to its second state championship. She recorded an ERA of 0.15 with 294 strikeouts in 138 innings pitched. She also racked up some impressive numbers at the plate with a .485 batting average.
Ally Carda (Pleasant Grove/Elk Grove, Calif.), Sophomore
Carda opened the season with a 20-strikeout perfect game and ended it with a shutout in the section championship game over national power Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.). Carda led the state in strikeouts (380) and finished with an 0.37 ERA. At the plate, she compiled a .430 batting average with nine home runs and 39 RBIs.
Melissa Dumezich (Whiting, Ind.), Senior
Dumezich rewrote the state record book in multiple categories and led her small school to two state championships. In the circle, she went 19-3 with an 0.14 ERA and sat down 383 batters via strikeout. At the plate, she hit nine homers and knocked in 36 runs with a .525 batting average. Dumezich will play at Texas A&M.
Teagan Gerhart (Norco, Calif.), Senior
For her stellar career, Gerhart ended with an 81-12 record with 647.3 innings pitched, 938 strikeouts, and only an 0.475 ERA. During the 2009 season, Gerhart went 30-2 in the circle and the Cougars went on a 26-game winning streak en route to a CIF Southern Section title. Gerhart batted .323 with four homers, 24 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and 18 runs scored. In her career, she recorded a batting average of .338 with 51 stolen bases, 11 home runs, and 68 RBIs. Next year, Gerhart will be on the mound once again, with the Stanford Cardinal.
Sam Parlich (Basha/Glendale, Ariz.), Senior
In Parlich's last game this season, she threw a one-hitter, struck out 12 and hit a solo home run to score the first run of the game on her way to leading the Bears to a state championship. That's how it was all season; Parlich could do it all. She finished 18-2 as a pitcher with four saves, recorded a 0.91 ERA with 200 strikeouts and managed to bat .533 with 40 runs scored and 42 RBIs.
Tess Sito (Elyria, Ohio), Senior
The two-time state Gatorade Player of the Year led the Pioneers to four straight Division 1 state finals, and this season to their first title since 2002. On the mound, she was 26-3 with an 0.23 ERA and had 331 strikeouts in 181 innings. As a leadoff hitter, she hit .509 with five home runs and 47 runs scored.
Hannah Williams (Freedom/Oakley, Calif.), Senior
The Falcons got as much out of Williams as they could in her senior season, as she pitched all 188 innings, compiling a 23-4 record with 269 strikeouts while walking just 23 batters. Named the BVAL Player of the Year, she also proved to be her own best run support as she hit .390 with a team-high six homers and 25 RBIs. Williams will play for Fresno State next year.
Andi Williamson (Chapmanville, W. Va.), Senior
The Gatorade state Player of Year led her team to two state Class AA titles in the last three years. The University of Tennessee recruit had 356 Ks in 153 innings, including 33 in a 13-inning win, and had over 1,000 career strikeouts. She pitched all seven postseason games, all shutouts with four no-hitters, two one-hitters and a two-hitter. She was 22-1 with an 0.09 ERA and allowed only 23 hits in 161 innings. At the plate, she hit .390 with four home runs and 30 runs batted in.
2009 EA Sports Softball All-Americans Second Team
Katie Asher (Canyon del Oro/Tucson, Ariz.), Senior
Chanel Ewing (Piedra Vista/Farmington, N.M.), Senior
Meagan May (Klein Oak/Klein, Texas), Senior
Shawna Wright (Lancaster, Calif.), Senior
Lindsey Ziegenhirt (Sheldon/Sacramento, Calif.), Senior
Blair Luna (Bowie/Austin, Texas), Senior
Olivia Galati (St. John the Baptist/Islip, N.Y.), Senior
Kamerin May (Santiago/Corona, Calif.), Senior
Devin Miller (Loyola Academy/Wilmette, Ill.), Senior
Sara Mireles (Canyon/New Braunfels, Texas), Sophomore
Brittany O'Donnell (Red Bank Catholic/Red Bank, N.J.), Senior
Destiny Rodino (Hart/Newhall, Calif.), Senior
Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.), Junior
Courtney Conley (Eureka, Mo.), Senior
Kara Dill (Keystone/Lagrange, Ohio), Senior
Sami Fagan (Dunnellon, Fla.), Sophomore
Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas), Senior
Ryan Iamurri (Naples, Fla.), Junior
Amber Riddle (Rowan County/Morehead, Ky.), Senior
Sierra Rodriguez (Basha/Glendale, Ariz.), Senior
Wykeima Davis (American Heritage/Plantation, Fla.), Senior
Rachel Gillen (Archmere Academy/Claymont, Del.), Junior
Sam Pappas (Tesoro/Las Flores, Calif.), Senior
Jensen Tydelski (Pearland, Texas), Senior
Lexi Carroll (Eau Gallie/Melbourne, Fla.), Senior
Lauren Gibson (Chesapeake/Baltimore), Senior
Jamie LaBovick (Sunrise Mountain/Peoria, Ariz.), Senior
Heather Parker (Mortimer Jordan/Montgomery, Ala.), Senior
Jenna Rich (El Segundo, Calif.), Senior
Lauren Sewell (Pembroke Pines Charter, Fla.), Senior