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Softball: Denham Named Finalist for NFCA Freshman of the Year

First Ragin’ Cajun to appear on the list since current senior Haley Hayden represented the program in 2014


LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball pitcher Alyssa Denham has been named one of the finalists for the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award, which will be presented prior to the start of the 2016 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The Pearland (Texas) High product is part of a group of 25 select athletes in consideration for the award. This year’s finalists hail from 22 different universities, while the group represents 12 Division I conferences from across the nation.
Denham is the first Ragin’ Cajun to appear on the list since current senior Haley Hayden represented the program in 2014. She is the lone representative from Louisiana and the Sun Belt Conference.
On May 11, the list will be trimmed down to the Top 10 finalists, while the Top 3 finalists will be selected and released on May 24. The Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on May 31.
Denham (14-2, 2.01 ERA) has worked 114-2/3 innings over 22 appearances (17 starts) thus far in her rookie campaign and has held foes to 40 runs (33 earned), 81 hits and a .193 average.
She has two wins over a Top 5 team to her credit, the most recent at No. 4 Texas A&M on April 19 in which she held the Aggies to two runs over four-plus innings while the Cajuns piled up 11 runs. The other Top 5 triumph was a two-hit shutout of then-No. 4 Alabama back in February at Lamson Park which clinched the series victory for Louisiana.
The two-time Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week and February LSWA Pitcher of the Month, Denham worked 38 innings in the circle, limited foes to 10 runs (seven earned), 21 hits and a .159 average in her first month as a collegian back in February. In all three weekends, she yielded fewer hits than innings pitched.
She worked 12 innings in the circle and held then-No. 4 Alabama to two runs (one earned) and five hits in the February weekend series between the two Top 25 programs. In the series clinching two-hit shutout win over the Crimson Tide, she did not allow a runner past second base the entire game.
Denham has excelled both as a starter and reliever. She worked out of bases loaded jams in relief efforts at South Alabama and Georgia Southern, then most recently delivered a masterful relief performance at Texas State after taking over for Alex Stewart in the first inning of the series opener, retiring 17 of the first 19 batters she faced after beginning her relief appearance, striking out five and not allowing any hits until the seventh inning.
For more information on Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball, as well as all of Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Facebook (/RaginCajunSoftball),Twitter (@RaginCajunsSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsSoftball).
The award was created in 2014 from an idea to honor outstanding athletic achievement among Division I freshmen softball student-athletes. In the inaugural year, Auburn’s Kasey Cooper and Tennessee’s Annie Aldrete, were co-winners. Oklahoma’s Paige Parker took home the honor in 2015 and Florida’s Amanda Lorenz captured the award in 2016.
Established in 1983, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) is the professional growth organization for fastpitch softball coaches from all competitive levels of play. The national office, located in the Crescent Hill community of Louisville, Ky., moved to the Bluegrass State in 2012.
Growing from 40 members in 1983 to over 4,500 today, the NFCA boasts members from all 50 states and nine international countries- Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and Sweden.
There are many services offered to the membership. Highlighted by the All-America teams, the awards program recognizes student-athletes for their athletic and academic prowess and coaches for their contributions both on and off the field.
NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Finalists
Rachel Anderson           Outfield                  Southeast Missouri State University         
Caylan Arnold                Pitcher                   Tennessee
Taryn Atlee                    Second Base         Rutgers
Maggie Balint                 Pitcher                   Oregon
Alyssa Barrera               Outfield                  Utah
Sis Bates                       Second Base         Washington
Amber Bishop                Second Base         Liberty
Braxton Burnside           Shortstop               Missouri
Jenna Cone                   Third Base             George Washington
Alyssa Denham              Pitcher                   Louisiana
Rachel Garcia                Pitcher/DP              UCLA
Jessie Harper                 First Base               Arizona
Bailey Hemphill              DP/C                      Alabama
Ryan Jackson                Outfield                  Bethune-Cookman
Kendyl Lindaman           Catcher                  Minnesota
Mariah Lopez                 Pitcher                   Oklahoma
Shelby McGlaun            DP/Pitcher              Baylor      
Dejah Mulipola               Catcher                  Arizona
Alyssa Palomino            Outfield                  Arizona
MaKenna Partain           Second Base         Minnesota
Brittany Pickett               Pitcher/First Base   North Carolina
Linda Rush                    Shortstop               Drexel
Takesha Saltern            Outfield                  Weber State
Olivia Tamewitz              Outfield                  Kennesaw State
Sami Williams                 Second Base         Iowa State