The window on the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.
Junior Pitcher, D.W. Daniel High (Central, SC)
2012 Team record: 25-7
2012 Team standing: Lost in Class 3A finals
2012 Batting average: .475
2012 Home Runs: 7
2012 Runs: 34
2012 W-L record: 16-4
2012 ERA: 0.50
2012 Strikeouts: 296
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Stanford (verbal)
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: All-State; All-Region; High School Sports Report Class 3A Co-Player of the Year; Struck out 2.13 batters per inning; Drew a state record 59 bases on balls.
Senior Pitcher, Hillcrest High (Simpsonville, SC)
2012 Team record: 31-3
2012 Team standing: Won Class 4A state title
2012 Batting average: .387
2012 RBI: 29
2012 Home Runs: 4
2012 W-L record: 29-3
2012 ERA: 0.90
2012 Strikeouts: 270
Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Campbell University
How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: All-State; High School Sports Report Class 4A Player of the Year; Surrendered just two runs in three-game state championship series.
Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.
Marisa Runyon: Junior Shortstop, Carolina Forest High (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Alaynie Page: Senior Center Fielder, Boiling Springs High (Boiling Springs, SC)
Silver Samuels: Senior Center Fielder, Hillcrest High (Simpsonville, SC)
Micaela Bell: Senior Catcher, Fox Creek High (North Augusta, SC)
Ansley Ard: Senior Center Fielder/Pitcher, Wilson Hall (Sumter, SC)
Gennifer Durham: Senior Pitcher, Abbeville High (Abbeville, SC)
Jordan Bizzell: Senior Infielder, Hartsville High (Hartsville, SC)
Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.