In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade joined with RISE Magazine to name junior pitcher TESS SITO of ELYRIA HIGH as its 2007-2008 Ohio Softball Player of the Year.
The 5-foot-9 junior pitcher finished 27-2 with a 0.21 ERA, recording 312 strikeouts in 186.67 innings this season to lead the Pioneers to a 28-2 record and the Division I state championship game, where they fell to Hoover, 1-0, in 10 innings. The Northeast Ohio Conference Player of the Year and the Best of the Best selection as named by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sito also produced a .450 batting average, 33 runs scored, 30 RBI and six home runs. She captured First Team All-State honors as a sophomore shortstop in 2007.
Sito has maintained a 4.23 GPA in the classroom. An altar girl at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Elyria, she volunteers as part of multiple community-service initiatives, mentoring youth athletes as a pitching and hitting instructor at local softball camps in addition to participating in Youth4Youth, a student-driven program dedicated to grooming youth leaders in the school and surrounding community.
"She's outstanding on the mound, one of the best we've seen, and she has an incredible work ethic," said Jim Hoover, head coach of rival North Royalton High. "She's just a great all-around athlete."
Sito has verbally committed to a softball scholarship to Cleveland State University for the fall of 2009.