Two Former UL Softball Players Named To Watch List
Two former Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball players picked up major preseason accolades on Wednesday.
Infielder DJ Sanders and outfielder Aleah Craighton were both named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List.
Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the most prestigious individual honor in NCAA Division I Softball, include UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Texas pitcher Cat Osterman (2003, 2005 and 2006), Florida State pitcher Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007), Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher (2008), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010), Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011), Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts (2012 and 2013), Florida State's Lacey Waldrop (2014), Florida's Lauren Haeger (2015), Michigan's Sierra Romero (2016) and Florida's Kelly Barnhill (2017).
A native of Columbus, Mississippi, Sanders hit a .388, to go along with 29 home runs and 82 runs batted in, both of which led the nation, while matching the NCAA single-season grand slam record with six.
That production earned Sanders a long list of accolades, including NFCA Division I First Team All-American, NFCA All-Central Region, Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and Louisiana Collegiate Softball Hitter of the Year honors, while being named as a Top Ten Finalist for the NFCA Player of the Year Award..
Sanders was also one of four softball players in the country to be nominated for the prestigious Softball Honda Award, given each year by the NFCA to the best female athlete in each of the 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports.
A starter in all 164 games during her career at Louisiana, Sanders finished just one homer short of becoming only the third UL softball player to ever crush 30 long balls in a single season.
A 2017 NFCA First Team All-American, following NFCA Second Team All-American honors in 2016, Craighton was also a first team All-Sun Belt Conference and All-Louisiana selection in both years.
A native of Prairieville, Louisiana, Craighton hit a .345 last season, to go along with 18 home runs and 53 runs batted in, after hitting a .378 with 18 homers and 58 RBI's in 2016.
Sanders and Craighton are both making their second appearance on the watch list.
Two Sun Belt Conference players are on the list, including South Alabama's Devin Brown and Randi Rupp of Texas St., while two LSU players, pitchers Carley Hoover and Allie Walljasper, were named to the list.
The Top 25 Finalists for the 2018 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 25, with the Top 10 Finalists to be announced May 9, and the Top 3 announced May 23.
The 2018 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed on May 29.
View the complete list here.