Award considered the Heisman Trophy of women's collegiate softball

LOUISIANA Là - Louisiana's Lady Cajuns junior ace pitcher Brooke Mitchell joined elite company on Wednesday as she was one of the 25 players selected as a Top 25 finalist for the 2004 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, as announced by The Amateur Softball Association.

The award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women's collegiate softball, is the only national player of the year award given annually to collegiate softball's top player. It is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

The list is comprised of 25 players that represent 18 colleges and six different Conferences. Mitchell was the lone representative from the Sun Belt Conference.

The Pasadena, Texas, native has led the Ragin' Cajuns (32-4) to its current No. 8 raking in the latest polls, accounting for 26 of the squad's 32 victories and having tossed 189 1/3 of the 244 innings played.

Mitchell, a six-time Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week honoree this season, is averaging over 12 strikeouts per game and currently has 345 - making her the first pitcher in the program's history to amass 300-plus whiffs in a single season.

She has fanned double-digits in 21 of her 30 appearances including a school-record 22 in a nine-inning, no-hitter of Nevada on Feb. 28 at the McNeese Cowgirl Classic.

Mitchell currently has 788 career strikeouts, a total which ranks second in the all-time record books, and needs 32 more to tie Kyla Hall's program record of 820.

At the KIA Klassic, she struck out six and gave up just seven hits in the Cajuns exhibition contest against the U.S. Olympic Team. It marked just the third in the Olympians "Aiming for Athens" tour that they were held to less than four runs.

Mitchell has five no-hitters to her credit this season including one of Big 12-member Missouri.

She owns a 1-0 win over No. 3 Florida State, striking out 15 in helping the Cajuns become the only team to win in Tallahassee this season.

Mitchell joins former Louisiana All-American Alana Addison as Cajun players to be named to the list. Addison was a finalist during the 2002 season.

From this initial list, the ASA will narrow it down to 10 players by April 28. Then on May 11, the three finalists for the award will be determined and the winner will be announced May 26 at the opening ceremonies of the NCAA College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The winner will be recognized and presented with the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year trophy during the ASA National Council meeting in Mobile, Ala., in November.

A replica of the award will be placed in a permanent display in the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, along with photos of the winner. An additional replica of the award will be presented to the player's academic institution