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East's Sela Rodriguez was named Alaska's Gatorade Player of the Year in Softball

From Josh Reed

Updated: 1 one minute ago Published: 1 one minute ago

After a sensational sophomore season in which she dominated both on the mound and at bat, Bettye Davis East's Sela Rodriguez was named Alaska's Gatorade Softball Player of the Year on Friday.

“I'm grateful to have been recognized in such a gracious way and I think it really reflects the work I put in during the offseason,” she said in a statement. “I think most people who play on a high school team start the season with the goal of winning the state title. I would say every high school softball player understands that you need a team to win and a great team to win the state title and I think East embodies that perfectly.”

Rodriguez, nicknamed the “Triple Threat” by her head coach Virginia Griffith, is the first player in program history to earn the honor. Earlier this month, Rodriguez powered the Thunderbirds' dominant run to their first Division I state championship since 2019 and was also named the MaxPreps Player of the Year.

[East High defeats Chugiak to win first state softball title in 5 years]

The 5-foot-8, right-handed pitcher and sophomore third baseman led the team to a 25-3 record and helped avenge its only losses of the season by defeating defending champion Chugiak in the state championship game. Rodriguez posted a 16-2 record in the pitching circle with a 1.97 ERA while striking out 198 batters and holding opponents to a .160 batting average over 96 innings. Offensively, she batted .448 and led the team with nine home runs, including six in the regular season and three in the playoffs, with 39 RBIs and a 1.545 OPS.

“Statistically, her numbers are outstanding, but to me, it's her character and pride in the game that truly reflects the type of athlete she is,” Griffith said in a statement. “Sela is a dedicated teammate. She has always supported our offense and defense no matter what the score or situation was.”

The award recognizes the nation's top high school athletes for their outstanding performance on the field, in school and in the community. Rodriguez had a 3.71 grade point average and volunteered locally as a youth softball coach and sewing blankets for patients at Providence Alaska Children's Hospital.

“I wanted to be great, I wanted to be somebody's idol, I wanted to lead my team to state, I wanted to play in the championship game, I wanted to be (Gatorade Player of the Year), I wanted to win (and) those were my goals,” Rodriguez said. “Having the inspiration of a player as determined as (two-time award winner) Emily (McCutcheon) inspired me to work as hard as she did and it paid off. But none of this would have been possible at all without my teammates, coaches and family.”

Anna Harden

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