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: Haylie McCleney
School: Mortimer Jordan (Kimberly, Ala.)
Athletic achievement: McCleney compiled a state-record .692 batting average with nine home runs, 64 runs scored and 28 RBI this past season, leading the Blue Devils (25-18) to the Class 5A state finals. A three-time First Team All-State selection, she also stole 65 bases in 66 attempts. As a junior, McCleney was the Birmingham News Girls Metro Athlete of the Year and was named to the Super All-State team.
Academic excellence: McCleney has maintained a 4.37 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, she has volunteered in her area on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
“Haylie McCleney is the most game-changing player I have ever witnessed,” said John Simmons, head coach at Hayden (Ala.). “Every time she gets up she makes things happen, and you cannot get her out on the bases. Defensively, you can’t hit a ball to the outfield, because she’ll catch it wherever it is.”
THE FUTURE: McCleney has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at the University of Alabama this fall.