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: Emily Crane
School: Troy Buchanan (Troy, Mo.)
Athletic achievement: Crane led the Trojans (29-4) to the Class 4A state championship this past season. She batted .563 with five home runs, 52 runs scored, 28 RBI and 24 stolen bases, while setting a state single-season record with 63 base hits. The Gateway Athletic Conference South and All-Metro Player of the Year, Crane was also a three-time First Team All-State selection and broke state career records for hits (205) and runs scored (168).
Academic excellence: Crane has maintained a 3.92 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of her church youth group and a volunteer math tutor in her school, she has also donated her time on behalf of local food and blood-donation drives.
“Her speed and power make her so valuable and dangerous as a player,” said Brad Schellert, head coach at Timberland (Wentzville, Mo.). “Crane is one of the top players I’ve seen as a coach in the last 15 years.”
THE FUTURE: Crane has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at the University of Missouri this fall.