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: Peyton Jenkins
School: Bryant (Ark.)
Athletic achievement: Jenkins led the Hornets (34-0) to a third straight Class 7A state championship this past season. She posted a 32-0 record with a 0.48 ERA and 260 strikeouts in 173.2 innings pitched. Jenkins allowed 72 hits and issued 33 walks. At the plate, the three-time First Team All-State selection batted .477 with six home runs, 22 doubles, 41 RBI and a slugging percentage of .881.
Academic excellence: Jenkins has maintained a 3.36 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally as a youth softball coach, as an aide in the Bryant High front office and with the Miracle League of Arkansas, a baseball league for physically and intellectually challenged children.
“To be able to pitch and hit is a unique combination,” said Kent Early, head coach of rival Bentonville (Ark.). “It is easy to let one side of the ball affect the other. For Peyton to maintain poise in the circle and hit for some very good numbers is impressive.”
THE FUTURE: Jenkins has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at Central Baptist College this fall.