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Gatorade(R) National Softball Player of the Year: Kasey Fagan

Former NCAA Softball World Series Champion and Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year Alicia Hollowell Surprises Standout with Elite Honor

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DUNNELLON, Fla., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In its 25th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Kasey Fagan of Dunnellon High School (Dunnellon, Fla.) as its 2009-10 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year.  Fagan was surprised with the news during a team breakfast at Dunnellon High School by three-time World Champion and former NCAA Women's College World Series MVP Alicia Hollowell, who earned Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year honors in 2001-02.

"It felt great to surprise Kasey with the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award and welcome her into one of the most prestigious legacy programs in high school sports," said Hollowell, a member of the 2008 USA Softball Women's National Team, who holds the University of Arizona Wildcats career record for wins and strikeouts.  "Gatorade has been on the sidelines fueling athletic performance for years, so to be recognized by a brand that understands the game and truly helps athletes perform is a huge honor for these kids."

By claiming the 220th National Player of the Year trophy to be awarded in the program's 25-year history, Fagan joins former SEC Tournament MVP and LSU Tigers pitcher Dani Hofer (2004-05, Palm Harbor University, Palm Harbor) as the only high school athletes from the state of Florida to earn Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year recognition.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Fagan as the nation's best high school softball player.  A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists helped select Fagan from more than 368,000 high school softball players nationwide. Fagan is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, to be presented at a special afternoon ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.

The 5-foot-11 senior pitcher and third baseman led the Tigers (33-1) to their second straight Class 4A state championship this past season, posting a 26-1 record and a 0.57 earned run average in the pitching circle while recording 239 strikeouts.  A two-time Gatorade Florida Softball Player of the Year, Fagan recorded three no-hitters, allowing only 56 hits in holding opponents to a .095 batting average over 147 innings this spring.  At the plate, the 2009 Class 4A State Tournament MVP batted .574 with eight home runs, 53 runs scored, 61 RBI and amassed a slugging percentage of .989.  

A 2009 ESPN RISE First Team All-American selection and the 2009 Florida Dairy Farmers Player of the Year, Fagan concluded her prep career with a .549 batting average, 25 home runs and 227 RBI.  She also compiled a 59-game hitting streak as an upperclassman, which ranked as the nation's third-longest ever after her sister and teammate, Sami, eclipsed that mark in May.

Fagan has maintained a weighted 4.74 GPA in the classroom, receiving nothing but 'A' grades throughout high school, and was the salutatorian of Dunnellon High's Class of 2010.  A member of the National Honor Society and the area's Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, she has volunteered locally as a peer tutor, a Dunnellon Little League clinic instructor, and in association with her First United Methodist Church community.  She also recently served as a keynote speaker at a Mid-West Florida FCA fundraising event.

"Kasey Fagan is a stud—she's afraid of nothing," said Mark Griggs, head coach of the Wichita (Kan.) Mustangs Amateur Athletics Union club program that played Fagan's Team North Florida at the Amateur Softball Association Nationals last summer. "She'll play in your face, hit for power, hit for average. As a third baseman, she's the real deal. If we bunt on Team North Florida, we're bunting away from her. She can really play."

Fagan has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at the University of Florida this fall.  Kasey's father and the Dunnellon High Head Softball Coach, Kevin, won three Super Bowl rings as a defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers from 1988 to 1993, and is a member of the University of Miami Hall of Fame.

"Without question, Kasey is deserving of recognition as the nation's best high school softball player based on her statistics on the field and the impact her accomplishments have had on Dunnellon's success," said Gatorade Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms.  "But she is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young players of what a leader and a student-athlete should be.  She represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient."

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 ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

To celebrate the award's 25th anniversary, Gatorade wants you to vote for the All-Time Greatest Softball Player of the Year at www.gatorade.com/POY25.  For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of former winners, and future announcement dates, visit the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site at http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.

ALL-TIME GATORADE NATIONAL SOFTBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

YEAR

NAME

HIGH SCHOOL

STATUS

2009-10

2008-09

2007-08

Kasey Fagan

Kenzie Fowler

Kenzie Fowler

Dunnellon/Dunnellon, GA

Canyon del Oro/Oro Valley, AZ

Canyon del Oro/Oro Valley, AZ

High School Senior

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

2006-07

Ashley Brignac

John Curtis Christian School/ River Ridge, LA

Univ. of Louisiana - Lafayette

2005-06

Kirsten Shortridge

Keller/Keller, TX

LSU

2004-05

Dani Hofer

Palm Harbor Univ./Palm Harbor, FL

LSU

2003-04

Anjelica Selden

Vanden/Fairfield, CA

UCLA Coaching Staff

2002-03

Lisa Dodd

University City/San Diego, CA

Univ. of Nevada Coaching Staff

2001-02

Alicia Hollowell

Fairfield/Fairfield, CA

Former U.S. National Team

2000-01

Cat Osterman

Cypress Falls/Houston, TX

U.S. National Team

1999-00

Tia Bollinger

Mater Dei/Santa Ana, CA

Univ. of Washington Graduate

1998-99

Maureen LeCocq

Chaminade Prep/West Hills, CA

Stanford Univ. Graduate

1997-98

Amanda Freed

Pacifica/Garden Grove, CA

Former U.S. National Team




SOURCE The Gatorade Company



RELATED LINKS
http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com

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