Dec. 6, 1999
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - - The Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball has named Shawn Rychcik (Salamanca, N.Y.) and Lisa Fernandez (Long Beach, Calif.) as its male/female athletes of the year for the sport of softball. The two will now be in contention for the USOC's athlete of the year for their respective category.
Rychcik was tops in the field during 1999 for both the USA Softball Men's National Team, as well as the ASA's Decatur Pride. Throughout 1999, Fernandez continued to show why she is the world's best all-around softball player, as well as one of the world's top female athletes. As a pitcher and third baseman, she helped the USA Softball Women's National Team win gold medals at both the Pan American Games and the Canada Cup. She was also named to her second consecutive U.S. Olympic Softball Team, and helped the California Commotion win the ASA Women's Major Fast Pitch for the fourth consecutive time.
At the Pan American Games, Fernandez led the U.S. to its fourth consecutive Pan Am Games gold medal by posting a 3-0 record - including a no-hitter against Cuba - with a 0.00 ERA and a hefty .381 batting average. Her dominance inside the pitching circle included 47 strikeouts in 21 innings, with just five hits and one walk allowed. At the plate, she delivered the game-winning hit against Canada in the gold medal game, pushing the United States to a 1-0 victory.
Just recently, Fernandez was named by Sports Illustrated for Women as one of the top 100 female athletes of the century, securing her spot as one of the top female softball players ever.
The USA Softball Women's National Team has been nominated as USOC Team of the Year for its performance during the 1999 season.
The U.S. continued its dominance of international competition, winning gold medals at the Pan American Games, the Canada Cup and the Bank of America/U.S. Olympic Cup. The U.S. National Team did not suffer a loss during the calendar year, improving its international unbeaten streak to 29 games.