Return of the POY: Ohio's Erin Gabriel

The Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year selection process is in full swing, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for.

Name: Erin Gabriel

School: Poland Seminary (Poland, Ohio)

Grade: Senior

Position: RHP/IF

2011 W-L: 16-1

2011 IP: 110

2011 ERA: 0.82

2011 K-BB: 233-27

2011 BA: .571

2011 HR: 8

2011 RBI: 46

2011 R: 41

Notes: 2009-10 and 2010-11 Gatorade Ohio Softball Player of the Year. Led the Bulldogs (25-2) to the 2011 Division II state championship. Owned a 1.029 slugging percentage and .648 on-base percentage as a junior. 2010 and 2011 First Team All-State selection. 2009 Second Team All-State selection. 2010 USA Junior National Team member.

Academics: A average

College: University of Tennessee

Extracurricular activities: A member of her school’s French Club and Science Club, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the National Honor Society and the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Ronie Haurin, head coach of rival Canfield (Ohio): “Erin Gabriel is the best softball player to come out of this area in a long time, if not the best ever. She is very polite and such a team player. Her physical achievements on the field are amazing.”

Each Gatorade State Player of the Year is challenged by thousands of fellow high school athletes. These are a few of the returning boys soccer underclassmen that also contended in 2010-11.

Kim Crawford: Senior outfielder, Clay (Oregon, Ohio)

Savannah Dorsey: Senior catcher, Central Crossing (Grove City, Ohio)

Brittany Flanigan: Senior pitcher, Louisville (Ohio)

Erin Pond: Senior shortstop, Keystone (LaGrange, Ohio)

Ali Smith: Senior pitcher, Tri-Valley (Dresden, Ohio)

MacKenzie Wallace: Senior pitcher, Copley (Ohio)

A dedicated ESPNHS POY team manages the Gatorade Player of the Year selection process and oversees all research, reporting, comparative analysis and criteria-compliance on the program’s behalf. Candidates are judged on athletic production and impact in the current season. Contenders must demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership. Senior status has no bearing on a candidate’s merit and selections are made independent of ESPNHS recruit rankings.

To nominate a student-athlete for Player of the Year honors, contact the POY team at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.