Softball players garner All-America honors
University of Florida sophomores Stacey Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and Kim Waleszonia (Fontana, Calif.) have been named NFCA/Louisville Slugger All-Americans, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced today. Nelson was named a second-team pitcher, while Waleszonia was named a third-team second baseman.
“This is a tremendous honor for both young ladies,” said Florida head coach Tim Walton. “They mean so much to our team and having them recognized as All-Americans with so many other great players is an honor for our program.”
Nelson finished the 2007 season with a 34-14 record and a 0.95 ERA. She set Florida season records for wins, innings pitched, appearances and starts and tied records for saves, complete games and strikeouts. In the
49.2 innings between the seventh inning of the first game of the Kentucky series on May 5 and the first out of the second inning in the first game of Super Regional play, Nelson gave up only one run, including a school record 29 consecutive shutout innings. She ran through Florida’s regional field, giving up only six base hits in the games against Stetson, No. 17 Georgia Tech and No. 18 Texas. In her
318.0 innings on the season, Nelson gave up only four home runs. She earned additional notable wins over No. 1 Arizona, No. 1 Tennessee, No.
2 Alabama, Oregon, No. 18 Georgia, No. 7 Texas A&M and Florida State. Arguably one of the best defensive pitchers in the country, Nelson finished the season with a .981 fielding percentage with seven putouts,
95 assists and only two errors. She is the only pitcher in school history to be listed in the top 20 for career fielding percentage. Nelson was named first-team NFCA All-Southeast Region and second-team All-Southeastern Conference. This is the first All-America honor of her career.
“It is an honor to be named an All-American,” Nelson said. “It is a surprise to me and I owe a lot of thanks to everyone who helped me achieve this honor. I hope our program continues to grow and 10 years from now we have 50 All-Americans.”
Waleszonia ended her sophomore campaign with a .365 batting average. She led the Gators in nearly every offensive category and set the Florida season records for hits with 88 and stolen bases with 24. She tied both the season (5) and career (8) records for triples and is currently Florida’s career batting average leader with a .338 average. Waleszonia scored a team-leading 16 game-winning runs on the year and tallied five game-winning RBI. She led the team with 26 multiple hit games. Waleszonia went on a season-high nine-game hit streak from April
24 at South Carolina to May 10 versus Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament. She finished the season on a seven-game hit streak that began in the SEC Tournament Championship game against LSU. Waleszonia recorded only 26 strikeouts on the season, averaging only one strikeout every nine at bats. Waleszonia was named first-team All-SEC and second team NFCA All-Southeast Region. This is the first All-America honor of her career.
“Obviously this is a huge honor to be selected an All-American with so many great players throughout the country,” Waleszonia said. “I couldn’t have done this without my teammates and their support no matter what the situation. My success has come from my teammates, coaches and support staff, including Steve Orris our strength and conditioning coordinator.”
There had only been one player named an All-American in the previous 10 seasons of softball at Florida. Pitcher Chelsey Sakizzie was named a third-team All-American as a senior in 1998. Nelson’s second-team honor is the highest ever for the program and Waleszonia is the first position player to earn All-America accolades.
“Having Stacey and Kim be only the second and third All-Americans since
1997 represents all the hard work and dedication of so many athletes before them,” Walton said. “This means a lot to our program and brings with it a measuring stick for future student-athletes.”
The complete list of the NFCA/Louisville Slugger All-America teams and videos of the players are available at http://www.nfca.org.
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