Eye on POY: Massachusetts softball

June, 1, 2012
6/01/12
10:00
AM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Meghan Rico
Senior right-handed pitcher, King Philip (Wrentham, Mass.)

2012 Team record: 18-2 (Division 1)
2012 Team standing: Division 1 South first round vs. Wachusett on Monday

2012 Batting average: .350
2012 RBI: 8
2012 Runs: 8

2012 W-L record: 14-2
2012 ERA: 0.63
2012 Strikeouts: 209

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: George Washington University

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Recorded 1.9 strikeouts per inning in the regular season. 2011 Miss Softball as named by ESPN Boston. 2011 Boston Globe All-Scholastic Division I Player of the Year (Eastern Mass.). 2011 Hockomock League Most Valuable Player. 2010 and 2011 Division 1 state champion.

Shannon Smith
Junior right-handed pitcher/first baseman, Milford (Mass.)

2012 Team record: 20-0 (Division 1)
2012 Team standing: Division 1 Central quarterfinal vs. Wachusett on Monday

2012 Batting average: .460
2012 RBI: 33
2012 Runs: 8

2012 W-L record: 19-0
2012 ERA: 0.11
2012 Strikeouts: 286

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: University of Kentucky (verbal)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Produced a .905 slugging percentage and .579 on-base percentage in the regular season. Amassed seven home runs, five doubles and a triple. 2009-10 Gatorade Massachusetts Softball Player of the Year. 2010 Player of the Year as named by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Central Mass.). 2010 and 2011 Worcester T&G Super Team selection. 2010 and 2011 Mid-Wach A League Most Valuable Player.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Kiara Amos: Senior pitcher, Malden (Mass.)
Alexis DeBrosse: Junior second baseman, New Bedford (Mass.)
Olivia Godin: Senior catcher, King Philip (Wrentham, Mass.)
Trish Hansen: Senior pitcher, Mansfield (Mass.)
Shannon Orton: Senior pitcher, Joseph Case (Swansea, Mass.)
Sarah Ropiak: Senior pitcher, Acton-Boxborough (Acton, Mass.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.

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