A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 48 fellow Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Shannon Smith
School: Milford (Mass.)
Athletic achievement: Smith led the Scarlet Hawks to a 20-0 record entering the Division I Central Division quarterfinals, scheduled for June 4. The state’s returning Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, she owned a 19-0 record with a 0.11 ERA and 286 strikeouts against just 19 walks in 130 innings pitched through 20 games. Also a first baseman, Smith batted .460 with seven home runs and 33 RBI, producing a .905 slugging percentage and .579 on-base percentage.
Academic excellence: Smith has maintained a 3.60 GPA in the classroom and serves as her school’s junior class secretary.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth softball instructor, she has volunteered on behalf of her church’s youth group and the Special Olympics.
“Shannon has a competitive drive that is unmatched,” said Milford head coach Brian Macchi. “She loves the game and knows the game. She eats, breathes and sleeps softball. She wants to be the one that has the ball in her hand or be at the plate when the game is on the line. Shannon possesses a self-confidence that truly separates her from other student-athletes.”
THE FUTURE: Smith will begin her senior year of high school this fall and has verbally committed to play softball on scholarship at the University of Kentucky beginning in the fall of 2013.