KELLEY LYNCH NAMED 2018-19 GATORADE® NATIONAL SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Sharpsburg, GA [June 6, 2019] – In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s most elite high school athletes, The Gatorade Company today announced Kelley Lynch of East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, Ga. is the 2018-19 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year. Lynch won the award for her accomplishments on and off the field, joining a group of former Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year winners that have gone on to have incredible success – they’ve combined for four gold medals and 10 have become coaches.
Lynch was presented with the award at her school among teammates, friends, family and coaches by two-time Olympic softball pitcher Jennie Finch. Check out a video of the announcement here.
“I had so much fun celebrating with Kelley Lynch after she was named the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award and welcoming her into our prestigious family of winners,” said Jennie Finch. “To be recognized by Gatorade is a statement that you are one of the best athletes in the nation. There is no greater honor in high school sports.”
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 Lynch as the nation’s best high school softball player. A national advisory panel comprised of sport-specific experts and sports journalists help Lynch from nearly 370,000 high school softball players nationwide. Lynch is now a finalist for the most prestigious award in high school sports, the Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year award, which is announced at a special ceremony prior to The ESPY Awards in July.
“Kelley Lynch has overcome so much in her young career, and that’s fueled her desire to become the best,” said Maren Angus, editor and writer for Softball America. “She’s the two-time Georgia Gatorade POY for a reason, and her inclusion on the USA Junior Women’s National Team only serves to reinforce her talent level. Her ability to change speeds sets her apart and she’ll be a stellar addition to the Washington pitching staff next season. Kelley has a chance to be one of the best freshman hurlers in Division I.”
The 5-foot-9 senior right-handed pitcher and shortstop led the Indians to a 32-2 record and their second consecutive Class 7A state championship this past season. The state’s returning Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, Lynch compiled a 17-0 record with a 0.27 ERA, along with a .436 batting average, three home runs and 25 RBI. The Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Player of the Year, Lynch was also named Player of the Year by the Georgia Dugout Club and is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2019 by Softball America.
A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Lynch has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and youth softball teams. Lynch has maintained an A average in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship at the University of Washington this fall.
“Kelley Lynch was selected for her outstanding accomplishments on and off the field,” said Gatorade Senior Vice President and General Manager Brett O’Brien. “Like past Gatorade National Player of the Year recipients, we look forward to seeing Kelley Lynch have continued success in sports and in life.”
Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Lynch has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Each year a selection committee evaluates the nation’s top talent in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, choosing national winners in 12 different sports: football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys and girls soccer, and boys and girls track & field. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators. Previous winners include a distinguished list of athletes, such as Peyton Manning, Abby Wambach, Karl-Anthony Towns, Derek Jeter and many other sports icons. To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY
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PREVIOUS GATORADE NATIONAL SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS
Oro Valley, AZ
NCAA Softball Analyst
Oro Valley, AZ
NCAA Softball Analyst
Assistant Coach for Liberty University Softball
The Woodlands, TX
Assistant Coach for Dartmouth University Softball
Geri Ann Glasco
USA Softball Team
Mission Viejo, CA
University of Arizona
San Diego, CA