For a list of the other Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year, click here.
THE WINNER: Taylor McQuillin
School: Mission Viejo (Calif.)
Athletic achievement: She posted a 25-1 record in the circle with a 0.72 ERA this past season, leading the Diablos (26-1) to the Southern Section, Division II tournament title. A two-time South Coast League MVP, McQuillin struck out 299 batters and walked just 17 in 164.2 innings pitched. She fired four no-hitters, including two perfect games, and held opponents to a .112 batting average. At the plate, the teen, who is blind in her left eye, batted .339 with one home run and a .475 slugging percentage.
Academic excellence: McQuillin has maintained a weighted 3.97 GPA.
Exemplary character: A second-degree black belt in taekwondo and a member of the National Honor Society, she writes a weekly blog for StudentSports.com about softball and has donated her time as a youth coach. She has also volunteered with her school’s Peer Assistance Leadership Program.
“Taylor McQuillin is so dominant on the mound, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Brandon Cosenza, head coach of Dana Hills. “Our team is a great hitting team, but Taylor always had us baffled and made us look foolish.”
THE FUTURE: McQuillin has verbally committed to Arizona.