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Softball: Gomez and Bertucci Top 25 Finalists

Matt Hebert, Sports Information –
LAFAYETTE – The home run chase that Danyele Gomez and Lacey Bertucci have staged has warranted attention from national onlookers for the two members of the 13th-ranked Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns softball team.

Gomez, the nation’s leading home run hitter with 19, and Bertucci, the nation’s fourth-leading home run hitter with 16, were both named Top 25 finalists for the 5th Annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award on Friday, the Amateur Softball Association announced.

This award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

The Top 25 is comprised of players representing 18 colleges and seven different NCAA Division I Conferences. Among the list are 12 seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen. Eight of the finalists were among the Top 25 finalists in 2005 including Michigan’s Jennie Ritter, Arizona’s Caitlin Lowe and Texas’ Cat Osterman who were the final three finalists in Oklahoma City.

On May 10, just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named – the remaining finalists must be selected from the Top 25 finalists. On May 31 the list will be cut to three and those final three players will travel to Oklahoma City for the announcement of the winner at the 2006 NCAA Women’s College World Series.

Gomez was named to the original watch list which was released in February and featured 50 student-athletes. Bertucci is making her debut on the watch list earning a position based upon her performance so far this season.

No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette has a Top 25 finalist for the first time since the 2004 season when All-American Brooke Mitchell made it to the Top 10 list. In 2005, Mitchell was one of the original 50, but missed the cut for the Top 25.

Gomez has maintained a season batting average above .400 throughout the entire season reaching as high as .600 after the season’s first 10 games. Through the season’s first 21 games she was still hitting .567.

Gomez ranks tops in the nation for home runs with 19 increasing her career home run total to 72 which ranks as the seventh all-time in NCAA Division I history. Gomez also tops the watch list with a 1.061 slugging percentage.

The Metairie native has hit safely in 28 of Louisiana-Lafayette’s 36 games this season. Currently on a seven-game hitting streak. Earlier in the season she had a nine-game hitting streak.

Bertucci has already tied her career-high for home runs with 16 to rank fourth in the nation. She owns home runs against some of the top pitchers from Top 15 teams. Homered off of Texas’ Meagan Denny, Washington’s Danielle Lawrie and Arizona State’s Danielle Serrano (2 home runs).

Bertucci’s best outing of the season came in the Northwestern State doubleheader on March 6 in which she went 5-for-8 with four home runs (two in each game) and five RBI. She hit five home runs that week and had five straight games with an RBI the same week.

Bertucci currently ranks fourth in the UL career record books for home runs with 41 only two behind Stephanie DeFeo for third place.

THE BASICS ON GOMEZ….

→ Leads the nation with 19 home runs in 2006

→ Has carried a batting average above .400 throughout the entire season. Started the season with an average above .500 through the first 24 games.

→ Has 54 total hits and 52 runs scored through 36 games.

→ Has 122 total bases and a 1.061 slugging percentage.

→ Three-time Sun Belt Player of the Week

→ Leads Louisiana-Lafayette in batting average (.470), hits (54), runs (52), home runs (19), total bases (122).

→ With 72 career home runs she is currently in sole possession of seventh place on the NCAA career home run charts.

→ This season has claimed the school career records for home runs, RBI and total bases.

THE BASICS ON BERTUCCI….

→ Ranks third in the nation with 16 home runs

→ Leads Louisiana-Lafayette with 45 RBI (1.25 RBI per game)

→ Second on the team with a .832 slugging percentage

→ Hit .400 (6-for-15) with four home runs and eight RBI at the prestigious Judi Garman Classic.

→ Has hit nine (9) home runs and posted 21 RBI since March 14

→ Has tied her career-high with 16 home runs and needs two more RBI to set a personal career-high

→ Has 41 hits and 39 runs scored through 36 games.

→ Leads Louisiana-Lafayette with 13 multiple-RBI games

The Top 25 finalists for the 2006 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, listed in alphabetical order, are:

Monica Abbott Tennessee Salinas, CA Senior Pitcher

Lacey Bertucci ULL Folsom, LA Junior 1B

Katie Burkhart Arizona St. San Luis Obispo, CA
Sophomore Pitcher

Kaitlin Cochran Arizona St Yorba Linda, CA
Freshman Outfield

Melanie Denischuk UMBC Poway, CA Junior 1B/3B

Kristi Durant Tennessee Placentia, CA Senior 3B/C

Sarah Fekete Tennessee Maryville, TN Senior Outfield

Danyele Gomez ULL Metairie, LA Senior Outfield

Jenna Hall Illinois Channahon, IL Senior 1B

Whitney Haller Georgia Tech Marietta, GA Freshman 1B/P

Alicia Hollowell Arizona Suisun, CA Senior Pitcher

Leslie Klein LSU Sunrise, FL Junior Outfield

Jodie Legaspi UCLA Garden Grove, CA Junior SS

Caitlin Lowe Arizona Tustin, CA Junior Outfield

Brianne McGowan Oregon St. Reno, NV
Junior P/1B

Kellie Middleton Georgia Norcross, GA Junior Outfield

Cat Osterman Texas Houston, TX Senior Pitcher

Jennie Ritter Michigan Dexter, MI Senior Pitcher

Anjelica Selden UCLA Vacaville, CA Sophomore Pitcher

Kristina Thorson California Lake Forest Park, WA Senior Pitcher

Angela Tincher Virginia Tech Eagle Rock, VA Sophomore Pitcher

Stephanie VanBrakle Alabama Chambersburg, PA Senior Pitcher

Kristin Vesley Oklahoma Phoenix, AZ Senior Outfield

Desiree Williams Texas Tucson, AZ Sophomore P/UT

Haley Woods California Burlingame, CA Senior C/1B