Return of the POY: Washington's Alyson Ambler

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: Alyson Ambler

School: Walla Walla (Wash.)

Grade: Senior

Position: RHP/1B

2011 W-L: 15-0

2011 IP: 98

2011 ERA: 0.57

2011 K-BB: 171-20

2011 BA: .506

2011 HR: 9

2011 RBI: 34

2011 R: 36

Notes: 2010-11 Gatorade Washington Softball Player of the Year. Led the Blue Devils (27-1) to the 2011 Class 4A state championship. Owned a 1.011 slugging percentage and .581 on-base percentage as a junior. 2011 Columbia Basin Big 9 4A Division Most Valuable Player. Two-time Columbia Basin Big 9 4A Division First Team selection.

Academics: A average

College: University of Connecticut

Extracurricular activities: The sports editor of her school newspaper, she has volunteered locally as a peer mentor, a youth tutor, a softball coach and at a retirement home in addition to donating her time coordinating a free dog-grooming community service project.

Larry Farnworth, Ambler’s Amateur Softball Association coach with American Pastime from California: “Alyson Ambler is a dream player. She’s got an unbelievably powerful bat. She’s a very good pitcher and she’s also a very good outfielder. She brings it all to the party.”

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.

Madi Schreyer: Junior pitcher, Woodinville (Wash.)

Ashley Thompson: Junior pitcher/first baseman, Connell (Wash.)

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.