Mendoza Named Team Sportswoman of the Year

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

NEW YORK, N.Y -- The Amateur Softball Association is pleased to announce that at the 29th Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Dinner, softball player Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), who next year will become president of the organization, was awarded the Sportswoman of the Year Award for team-sport athletes from the Women's Sports Foundation at the Waldorf/Astoria in New York City.

"I see this award as a reflection of the accomplishments of all my teammates this year. It is a huge honor to be named to this list of amazing women who have won this award in past years," said Mendoza. "I also love that WSF has recognized more than just athletic achievements, but what athletes are doing to give back and keep women's sports progressing to the future."

Following the decision to remove softball as an event from the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Jessica Mendoza and the U.S. National Women's Softball Team made a valiant showing in what may be their final Olympic effort, not just for the team but for their sport. During the 2008 pre-Olympic tour, the team played 60 games in more than 45 cities. Mendoza's hitting record sparked excitement with a .495 average, 102 hits, 107 RBIs and 21 home runs.

Mendoza was the third batter during the Olympic Games in Beijing, for which Olympic coach Mike Candrea (Tucson, Ariz.) noted "...to hit third in our order is quite an honor." Her average of .333 in 24 at bats, including four home runs, helped lead her team to win the silver medal. She tied for first in stolen bases, ranked second in home runs and third in runs batted in. Off the field, Mendoza represented the United States as an Athlete Ambassador for Team Darfur to raise awareness of the ongoing crisis there, and participated in the U.S. Army's Goodwill Tour of Afghanistan in January of 2008.

Recipients of this award are female athletes who have excelled in their sports over a 12-month period. Nominations for the individual and team Sportswoman of the Year Awards are made by national governing bodies, sports organizations, sports historians, media, members of the Women's Sports Foundation advisory board and trustees, and the general public and chosen by active members of the Women's Sports Foundation. Among other considerations for the award are records set and world championships won between August 1, 2007, and August 24, 2008.

The Women's Sports Foundation--the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports--advocates for equality, educates the public, conducts research and offers grants to promote sports and physical activity for girls and women. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, the Women's Sports Foundation builds on her legacy as a champion athlete, advocate of social justice and agent of change. The WSF strives for gender equity and fight discrimination in all aspects of athletics.

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