For a list of the other Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year, click here.
THE WINNER: Sydney Smith
School: Maple Grove (Minn.)
Athletic achievement: She compiled a 19-1 record and a 0.59 ERA in the circle for the Crimson (20-2) at the time of her selection. Through 22 games, Smith fanned 232 batters against just 30 walks in 130 innings pitched. Smith owned a .578 batting average with 15 extra-base hits, 17 runs scored and 24 RBI entering the Class AAA state tournament. A returning Class AAA First Team All-State selection as named by the Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches Association, she was a member of the Beverly Bandits during the team’s Premier Girls Fastpitch 16U National Championship campaign this past summer.
Academic excellence: Smith has maintained a B average.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth softball instructor, she has volunteered as part of numerous efforts to benefit the Minneapolis metropolitan area’s homeless community in coordination with Church of the Open Door, Feed My Starving Children and Kids Against Hunger.
“She never lets the pressure get to her,” said Maple Grove head coach Jim Koltes. “She performs on the biggest stages and makes it look easy. Sydney is always in control, enjoys the pressures of the biggest tests and thrives on wanting to win. She is extremely humble and takes nothing for granted. She works hard to stay on top of her game, and all the while never feels the need to act like she is above anybody.”
THE FUTURE: Smith has verbally committed to LSU.