A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For her 48 fellow Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Heidi Riley
School: Skyview (Billings, Mont.)
Athletic achievement: Riley batted .449 with four home runs and 26 RBI this past season, leading the Falcons (18-6) to the Class AA state tournament consolation bracket semifinals. A 2012 Class AA First Team selection, she banged out 11 doubles, five triples, scored 26 runs and compiled a slugging percentage of .820. A two-time Class B All-State pick as a freshman and sophomore at Shepherd (Mont.), Riley concluded her prep softball career with a state-record 45 doubles.
Academic excellence: Riley has maintained a 3.33 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally as part of community-beautification projects, as a youth softball coach and she has provided meals to needy families at Thanksgiving.
“Heidi Riley was a dangerous player both at the plate and at the tough shortstop position,” said Steve Sosich, head coach of rival Butte (Mont.). “She had great range with an exceptional and accurate arm.”
THE FUTURE: Riley has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at Ashford University in Iowa this fall.