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: Casey Stangel
School: Lake City (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho)
Position: Left-handed pitcher
Athletic achievement: The state’s returning Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, Stangel posted a 22-2 record in 132.1 innings this past season with a 0.37 ERA and 218 strikeouts, leading the Timberwolves (22-2) to the Class 5A state championship game. She also batted .558 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI, producing a 1.117 slugging percentage and .606 on-base percentage. The three-time Inland Empire League MVP, she finished 25-0 with a 0.33 ERA and 283 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched as a sophomore, leading Lake City to the 2011 Class 5A state title.
Academic excellence: Stangel has maintained a 3.75 weighted GPA in the classroom and serves on her school’s student council.
Exemplary character: In addition to participating as a student-athlete blogger for ESPNHS this past season, she has volunteered as a youth softball instructor, on behalf of her church and in association with the National Honor Society.
“Her velocity separates her, and she’s really good at hitting her spots,” said Larry Bieber, head coach at rival Coeur d’Alene (Idaho). “She really has command of the strike zone. With her velocity, when she’s on the edges, she’s in business, and when she does that she’s almost unhittable. Offensively, we had to pitch around her a lot. You don’t ever want to get behind her, but you don’t want to give her a first-pitch strike, either. She’s very good offensively.”
THE FUTURE: Stangel will begin her senior year of high school this fall and has verbally committed to play softball on scholarship at the University of Missouri beginning in the fall of 2013.