HR 7: Four-time All-American '10 Alissa Haber

During the summer months, we are releasing the 10 winners of this prestigious award, one by one. Gymnast Carly Janinga, soccer's Kelley O'Hara, football's Toby Gerhart, tennis' Hilary Barte, volleyball's Evan Romero and swimming's Elaine Breeden have batted first through sixth. Looking to knock them in is our seventh winner, four-time softball All-American Alissa Haber.

In a June 15 article, we released the 31 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll for the 2009-2010 school year.

The criteria are as follows:

Each academic year, The Bootleg's Honor Roll will recognize the top ten Stanford student-athletes who have performed at an exceptional level, with athletic accomplishments that are both extraordinary and inspirational. While achieving athletic success, these athletes should also have displayed uncommon leadership, sportsmanship and respect towards their fellow teammates and opponents. Finally, these honorees' performances and actions should also demonstrate their love for their particular sport as well as their school pride, the famed "Spirit of Stanford."

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It was a disappointing season for Stanford softball, losing at home to No. 16 Hawai'i and Texas Tech in the NCAA Regionals to bring any postseason run to a premature close. [With Stanford's best pitcher, at least statistically, a freshman in Teagan Gerhart (22-6, 1.65 ERA), perhaps an early postseason exit was inevitable. Why coach John Rittman chose to forego Gerhart for the playoffs in lieu of junior Ashley Chinn (12-10, 3.17 ERA) is beyond me, but I digress.] Still, while it was far from the best Stanford squad of which she'd been a part, four-time All-American Alissa Haber battled valiantly to bring her Cardinal career to a fitting close.

Haber became just the second Stanford softballer to earn four-time All-American status, following in the footsteps (base path, perhaps?) of two-time Olympian Jessica Mendoza. One look at her numbers argues her case persuasively: Batting leadoff, Haber hit .446 with 78 hits, 50 runs, a .657 slugging percentage, a .529 on-base percentage and 23 steals. All those marks led the 2010 Cardinal, with the .446 batting average second in the Pac-10, far and away softball's strongest conference, and her 72 career doubles a school record. Her 16 strikeouts compare favorably to her 23 walks, and even more so to her 175 at-bats, especially when considering how dominant pitchers can be in softball.

Haber also produced when her team needed her most, a characteristic common amongst our Honor Roll winners. She hit in 47 of Stanford's 56 contests, including the each Card's last eight games. She homered in Stanford's biggest win of the year, the victory over Texas Tech to open postseason play, and produced six hits, three runs and three RBI in Stanford's three postseason games. Remarkably consistent, Haber's average dipped no lower than .432 throughout her senior season, off a .443 junior year.

Just as impressively statistically is what Haber didn't do. Defensively, the left-handed outfielder committed no errors the entire season while putting out 85. Offensively, she hit into just two double plays, a testament to her speed.

Haber also shined off the diamond. An English and human biology double major, Haber was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, presented to her sport's most outstanding senior, and an ESPN Academic All-American. Finally, at the Stanford Athletics banquet this past May, Haber won the Pam Strathairn Award for the female in her class with the best competitive attitude, sharing the honor with soccer's Ali Riley and water polo's Jessica Steffens.

As a Bay Area native hailing from the East Bay's Newark, Calif., Haber knows full well the power of her Stanford degree, and will no doubt go on to bigger and brighter things – including, perhaps, a run at Olympic glory (depending, of course, on the status of softball). Nonetheless, in just four years at Stanford, Haber accomplished plenty, and we salute her as a repeat winner in our Honor Roll.

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