THE WINNER: Shannon Smith
School: Milford (Mass.)
Athletic achievement: The state’s 2009-10 and 2011-12 Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, Smith led the Scarlet Hawks to a 21-1 record entering the Division 1 South quarterfinals against King Philip (Wrentham, Mass.), scheduled for June 4. She owned a 20-1 record with a 0.05 ERA and 293 strikeouts against only six walks in 138 innings-pitched entering the sectional round of eight. The three-time returning Mid-Wach A League MVP batted .486 with seven home runs and 29 RBI through 22 games. Smith led Milford to the 2012 Division 1 state title as a junior. Her 1,154 career strikeouts are a state record.
Academic excellence: Smith has maintained a 3.64 GPA and has served as her school’s student council secretary.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth softball instructor, she has volunteered on behalf of her church’s youth group, the Special Olympics and in association with the National Honor Society.
"She is headed to Kentucky and has the make-up to be successful in the SEC," said Denise Davis, owner of Planet Fastpitch. "Plus, she is a tremendous human. Her passions off of the field include volunteering at the Special Olympics and tutoring at her high school. She is a junior instructor at PFP, a great student and a superior role model. She has helped me guide hundreds of kids with her example. She’s a 360-degree player and person. Honestly, I hope she’s in the running for National Player of the Year."
THE FUTURE: Smith has signed with Kentucky.