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Thursday, May 24, 2012
Eye on POY: Connecticut softball

By Ben Rohrbach

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.

Brooke Phelan
Senior shortstop, Foran (Milford, Conn.)

2012 Team record: 19-1 (Class L)
2012 Team standing: Class L state tournament begins Saturday

2012 Batting average: .446
2012 RBI: 12
2012 Runs: 26

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Quinnipiac University

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Producing a .581 slugging percentage and .481 on-base percentage. Has stolen 22 bases in her first 20 games. 2011 Class L state champion. 2011 All-Southern Connecticut Conference selection.

Mariel Schlaefer
Senior catcher, Lauralton Hall (Milford, Conn.)

2012 Team record: 13-4 (Class M)
2012 Team standing: Class M state tournament begins Saturday

2012 Batting average: .466
2012 RBI: 22
2012 Runs: 22

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Colgate University

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Owns an .879 slugging percentage and .516 on-base percentage. Has collected five home runs, five doubles and two triples in her first 58 at-bats. 2011 Connecticut High School Coaches Association Junior Select Game participant. 2011 Softball All-Star as named by the Connecticut Post. 2011 CHSCA Class M All-State selection. 2011 First Team All-South West Conference selection.

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.

Tatum Buckley: Sophomore pitcher, Masuk (Monroe, Conn.)
Kelli Connors: Senior pitcher, Waterford (Conn.)
Jess Harkness: Sophomore pitcher, Foran (Milford, Conn.)
Brittany Lampert: Senior centerfielder, Shelton (Conn.)
Leah Torre: Senior pitcher, Guilford (Conn.)

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.