Gatorade Texas Softball POY

In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade joined with RISE Magazine to name senior pitcher WHITNEY CANION of ALEDO HIGH as its 2007-2008 Texas Softball Player of the Year.

The 6-foot senior left-handed pitcher finished 31-0 with a 0.07 ERA, recording 382 strikeouts in 198 innings this season to lead the Ladycats (38-1-1) to the Class 4A state championship. Also the Player of the Year as named by the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Canion produced a .350 batting average, 26 runs scored, 26 RBI and three home runs this spring. The two-time District 8-4A Most Valuable Player and a returning First Team All-State selection, she earned state postseason Tournament Most Valuable Player honors after striking out 22 batters in 15 innings as Aledo beat Nederland, 4-0, for the title.

Canion has maintained an A average in the classroom. A Who's Who in English Award winner at Aledo High, she volunteers on behalf of multiple community-service initiatives, developing a recycling program at the high school on behalf of the National Honor Society and volunteering for the local Special Olympics.

"All I know is this: this team wouldn't be No. 1 in the state and tops in the country without her," said Aledo athletic director Tim Buchanan. "She's quite an athlete but the leadership she provided was unbelievable. In that 15-inning state title game she kept fighting and kept her teammates and the defense behind her incredibly focused."

Canion has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Baylor University this fall.