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Friday, June 1, 2012
Eye on POY: Mississippi 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.

Nicole Fullilove
Freshman right-handed pitcher/shortstop, South Panola (Batesville, Miss.)

2012 Team record: 22-10 (Class 6A)
2012 Team standing: Lost Class 6A state semifinals to Madison Central (Madison, Miss.), 2-0 and 3-0

2012 W-L record: 22-8
2012 ERA: 0.54
2012 Strikeouts: 218

2012 Batting average: .256
2012 RBI: 17
2012 Runs: 10

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Her 19 RBI and 10 runs scored accounted for 0.91 runs per game. Amassed 13 shutouts and two no-hitters. Three-time Player of the Week as named by MaxPreps.com.

Kelly Young
Senior right-handed pitcher/shortstop, Madison Central (Madison, Miss.)

2012 Team record: 29-3 (Class 6A)
2012 Team standing: Class 6A state champions

2012 W-L record: 25-2
2012 ERA: 0.29
2012 Strikeouts: 338

2012 Batting average: .305
2012 RBI: 19
2012 Runs: 10

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of Arkansas

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Recorded 2.0 strikeouts per inning, owned an 8.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and registered a 0.50 WHIP. Produced a .463 slugging percentage and .377 on-base percentage. 2011 First Team All-State selection as named by The Clarion-Ledger. 2010 Class 6A Second Team All-State selection as named by The Clarion-Ledger. 2010 and 2011 Class 6A state champion.

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.

Emily Davis: Senior right-handed pitcher/third baseman, Newton County (Decatur, Miss.)
Constance Quinn: Junior shortstop, Oak Grove (Hattiesburg, Miss.)

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.