Little League Softball® Graduates Honored with Gatorade Player of the Year Distinction
Every year, Gatorade honors high school athletes from each state in the U.S. with the Player of the Year awards in 12 different sports. From there, Gatorade selects national players of the year for each sport, and names two Athletes of the Year.
When it comes to softball, it’s no surprise that many of the honorees are Little League® graduates.
This summer, when the 2013 National Gatorade High School Athletes of the Year were announced, a Little Leaguer® who played for the 2008 Little League Softball® World Series Champions was one of those receiving top honors.
Carley Hoover, Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, from Central, S.C. helped the D.W. Daniel High School win the Class 3A South Carolina State Championship this year. Ms. Hoover was a standout on the mound and at the plate, with a 16-4 record, 0.15 ERA, .500 batting average and 45 runs scored. In the classroom, she maintained a 3.84 GPA.
But, Ms. Hoover got her start in softball with Simpsonville Little League in Simpsonville, S.C., where she was a standout pitcher at the 2008 Little League Softball World Series.
“When I was 12 years old, Little League provided me with the highest form of competition in that age group,” said Ms. Hoover, a freshman at Stanford University. “Of course the competition I'm up against nowadays put up more of a fight than 12 year olds, but it is a very cool thing to be able to say my Little League championship team was truly the best group of girls playing together at that time in the world. Little League is a true testament to special talents all over the world.”
Ms. Hoover, pitching at the 2008 Little League Softball® World Series in Aplenrose Stadium, Portland, Ore.
“I want to thank Coach Errington for helping to make my Little League experience extra special," said Mrs. Hoover. “He made sure everyone was having a great time but still pushed us all to do our best. He taught us how to work hard and be passionate about something. It's not just about softball; it's about the whole experience of Little League. And he helped make the experience so special for me.”
Ms. Hoover isn’t the only Little League Champion to put on a Stanford Cardinal jersey, either. Her teammate, Kayla Bonstrom, was a member of the 2008 Junior League Softball World Series Championship team from Pusch Ridge Little League from Oro Valley, Ariz. In 2012, Ms. Bonstrom took home Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Honors. She was also a 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year for Arizona.
“For 40 years, the Little League Softball World Series has been the pinnacle of the softball tournament world,” said Sara Thompson, Little League Director of Softball Development. “It’s wonderful to see our former players going on to compete at the highest levels of the game.”
In addition to Ms. Hoover, many state 2013 Gatorade Softball Players of the Year got their start in Little League, including Pennsylvania honoree, Alexis Bower. Ms. Bower, a graduate of Williamsport (Pa.) High School played her Little League Softball just miles from the Little League International Headquarters. Other Little League alumni honored as Gatorade Softball Player of the Year include: Pauline Tufi (Anchorage, Alaska), Sarah Ing (Washington, D.C.) and Carolyn Szymanski (Bear, Del.). If you know of additional Gatorade Player of the Year honorees who played Little League Baseball or Softball, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Little League is a dream come true,” said Ms. Hoover. “It took my three years of Little League to finally achieve my dream of winning, but all the losses and hardships were so worth it to make it to the finals. I made some great friends and had the opportunity to play on the greatest stage there is for young girls’ softball. If softball is truly a passion, Little League is there to enhance it.”
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.
"It is a very cool thing to be able to say my Little League championship team was truly the best group of girls playing together at that time in the world. Little League is a true testament to special talents all over the world.” - Carley Hoover