For a list of the other Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year, click here.
THE WINNER: Steph Thomas
School: Immaculate Heart Academy (Washington Township, N.J.)
Athletic achievement: She owned a 30-1 record and a 0.50 ERA in the circle for the Eagles (30-1) at the time of her selection. Through 31 games, Thomas fanned 271 batters and issued just 16 walks in 181.2 innings pitched. A returning Third Team All-American as named by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, Thomas owned a .525 batting average with 13 extra-base hits and 22 RBI entering the Non-Public A, North championship game. She owns state records for career victories and shutouts.
Academic excellence: Thomas has maintained a 4.19 GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of Immaculate Heart Academy’s student council, she has also served as a student ambassador as well as the senior class event coordinator. She has volunteered on behalf of her church, a local retirement facility and Christian Actions Reaching Everyone programs in addition to donating her time as a youth softball instructor and fundraising to benefit the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“What makes her so great is that she’s a tremendous competitor,” said Frank Baldino, head coach at Paramus Catholic. “She’s so driven. I’ve seen her for four years, and she’s so steady. She’s relentless. So consistent. There’s no letting down, no matter the competition. Her performance speaks for itself. She’s a special player and special person. She’s so humble, and her focus is second to none.”
THE FUTURE: Thomas has signed with Lafayette College.