Kentwood High School sophomore pitcher Sarah Wright is the 2021-22 Gatorade Washington Softball Player of the Year.
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 Wright as Washington’s best high school softball player, according to a Gatorade media release.
A Gatorade committee of coaches, scouts, media and others select the top players in each state. Nearly 500,000 student-athletes play softball nationwide. Wright is the first Gatorade softball player of the year from Kentwood. This marks the 37th year the company has honored the nation’s best high school athletes.
The 5-foot-8 sophomore right-handed pitcher compiled an 18-1 record with a 0.33 earned run average in the circle this past season, leading the Conquerors (21-2) to the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
Wright fired eight no-hitters, including two perfect games. She struck out 330 batters while allowing just 26 hits and 26 walks in 128 innings. She earned North Puget Sound League Pitcher of the Year honors for the second straight season.
At the plate, she batted .486 with 24 runs scored and 27 runs batted in. She hit six home runs and posted a .548 on-base percentage to go with an .837 slugging percentage.
“Sarah was a huge part of their team,” said Jason Stensby, head coach of Olympia High School whose team played Kentwood. “Sarah can throw hard and can move the ball all over the zone. She can also keep batters off-balance with a very good change up. She is fearless in the circle.”
A two-time North Puget Sound League wrestling champion, Wright donates her time as a member of the Kent School District Student Athletic Leadership Team.
Wright has maintained a 3.60 GPA in the classroom.
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. The company awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
Keagan Rothrock of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Indiana is the 2021-22 National Softball Player of the Year.
Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” platform, Wright has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports.
Wright is also eligible to submit a short video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.