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: Kelsey Nunley
School: Soddy-Daisy (Tenn.)
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Athletic achievement: Nunley led the Trojans (46-5) to their second Class AAA state championship in three years this past season. The two-time All-City Player of the Year as named by Chattanooga’s Times Free Press, she posted a 36-4 record with two saves, a 0.45 ERA and 401 strikeouts against just 21 walks in 246 innings pitched, recording 26 shutouts and 11 no-hitters. In five Class AAA state tournament games, Nunley finished 4-1 in the circle with a 0.60 ERA and 61 strikeouts, issuing only three walks in 35 innings.
Academic excellence: Also a basketball and volleyball standout, Nunley has maintained a 3.57 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honor Society, she has also donated her donated her time as a youth softball instructor.
“She’s the best pitcher in the state,” said Norma Nelson, head coach at rival Ooltewah (Tenn.). “Nunley is the real deal. She’s a good kid. She throws very hard, and she also has a curveball and a screwball. This year, she developed a change that’s just unbelievable. She throws hard, and she also has movement on it.”
THE FUTURE: Nunley has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at the University of Kentucky this fall.