LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky softball signee Shannon Smith, who will be an incoming freshman in the fall of 2013, has been named the 2013 Gatorade Massachusetts Softball Player of the Year for the third time during her high school career, it was announced by The Gatorade Company on Thursday.
Smith, who is currently still playing for Milford High School in the Massachusetts State Softball Tournament, also won the honor in 2010 and 2012. The Gatorade Player of the Year award is given to a high school player who not only has outstanding athletic excellence, but also succeeds in the classroom and shows exemplary character off the field. The award distinguishes Smith as Massachusetts’ best high school softball player and makes her a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.
According to The Gatorade Company’s release, Smith has led Milford High School to a 21-1 record this season as the team prepares for the Division I South quarterfinals this week in the state tournament. Smith, who is a pitcher and infielder, owns a 20-1 record with a 0.05 ERA in the circle this season, striking out an impressive 293 batters in 138 innings pitched with only six walks allowed. For her career, Smith has 1,154 strikeouts, which is a Massachusetts state record. Offensively, Smith is hitting .486 this season with seven home runs and 29 RBI.
Smith, who serves as the school’s student council secretary, has been active in her community in high school, spending time as a youth softball instructor on top of volunteering with her church’s youth group and with the Special Olympics.
“Recruiting Shannon has been a lot of fun because I knew her at the age of 10,” UK head coach Rachel Lawson said back in November in a news release announcing Smith’s signing of a National Letter of Intent. “To watch such a fun-loving kid turn into an accomplished pitcher is priceless. Shannon not only has an array of pitches, but possesses an outstanding ability to pitch the ball exactly where she wants to when the game is on the line. This pinpoint precision is essential when facing the outstanding lineups in the Southeastern Conference.”
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.