For a list of the other Gatorade State Softball Players of the Year, click here.
THE WINNER: Nicole Pendley
School: Rio Rancho (N.M.)
Athletic achievement: She led the Rams (28-4) to the Class 5A state championship this past season. Pendley owned a 21-2 record and a 2.01 ERA in the circle, along with a .582 batting average, 14 home runs and 50 RBI at the plate. A three-time First Team All-State selection, she also had 14 doubles, seven triples and 22 stolen bases.
Academic excellence: Pendley has maintained a B average.
Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, she has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs.
“Pendley is impossible to get out,” said Jimmy Hernandez, head coach at West Mesa. “Even if you don’t put the ball in the strike zone, she can still hit it out. She dominates at whatever she does. It’s an easy sport when you have that kind of talent.”
THE FUTURE: Pendley has signed with Oklahoma.