Jan. 23, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton senior right-hander Candice Baker was one of 50 players named to the initial watch list for the sixth annual 2007 USA Softball National Player of the Award announced on Tuesday afternoon.
The list is comprised of players representing 33 schools and 11 different NCAA Division I conferences. Past winners include UCLA's Stacey Nuveman, Florida State's Jessica Van der Linden, and three-time honoree, Texas pitcher Cat Osterman.
The Amateur Softball Association will pare the list down to 25 players on April 4 and shrink the list yet again down to 10 players on May 9. The three finalists for the award will be announced on May 23 with the winner named prior to the start of the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Baker, a two-time NFCA All-West Region First-Team selection as a utility player the past two seasons, finished her junior year with a 22-10 overall record in the circle and a 2.16 ERA. She led the Big West Conference with 259 strikeouts and held the opposition to a .194 batting average in 2006.
She was named to the All-Big West First Team at two different positions (pitcher and utility), becoming the first Titan since 2003 to accomplish such a feat, and became the 22nd pitcher in school history to reach the 20-win plateau.
Baker's 265 strikeouts rank fourth on the school's single-season list and she led the Big West with nine double-digit strikeout performances last season.
She is one of two Big West players to be included on the initial watch list as Pacific senior outfielder Gina Carbonatto was also honored.
A complete list of players, including photos and links to their collegiate bios, can be found on the USA Softball website at www.usasoftball.com.
Cal State Fullerton opens its 2007 regular season on Friday (Feb. 9) as the Titans travel to Phoenix, Ariz., to compete at the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State.
Fullerton opens the home portion of its schedule on Wednesday (Feb. 21) at 6 p.m., with a single game against national power Tennessee at Anderson Family Field.