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: Briana Combs
School: Ladywood (Livonia, Mich.)
Athletic achievement: Combs led the Blazers (33-3) entering Division 2, Region 15 tournament semifinals, scheduled for June 9. She owned a 33-1 record with a 0.09 ERA and 364 strikeouts in 225 innings pitched through 36 games. Combs recorded eight no-hitters, including three perfect games, and held opponents to a .046 batting average. At the plate, she batted .536 with 17 doubles, 43 runs scored, 35 RBI and a .818 slugging percentage entering the regional final four.
Academic excellence: Combs has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally at a homeless shelter and food bank. She has also donated her time fundraising to benefit the American Cancer Society.
“Briana Combs is a fierce competitor,” said Newton Barefoot, president emeritus of the Compuware ASA team. “She has taken the game to the next level on so many occasions with her mental toughness. She has the ability to spot the ball over the desired portion of the plate like no other pitcher I’ve known.”
THE FUTURE: Combs has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at Cleveland State University this fall.