East's Sela Rodriguez named Alaska's Gatorade Player of the Year for softball

Jun. 10—Coming off a sensational sophomore season that saw her dominate both on the mound and at the plate, Bettye Davis East's Sela Rodriguez was named Alaska's Gatorade Player of the Year for softball on Friday.

"I'm grateful to have been recognized in such a kind way and I think it really reflects the work I've put in over the offseason," she said in a statement. "I think most people who play on a high school team go into the season striving to make it to the state title. I would say every softball high school player understands it takes a team to win and a great team to take the state title, and I think East embodies that to perfection."

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

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

The 5-foot-8 sophomore right-handed pitcher and third baseman led the team to a 25-3 record and helped avenge its only losses of the season by beating defending champion Chugiak in the state title game. Rodriguez compiled a record of 16-2 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. On offense, she batted .448 and led the team with nine home runs, which included six in the regular season and three in the playoffs with 39 RBIs to post a 1.545 OPS.

"Statistically, her numbers stand out, but for me it's her character and pride for the game that truly reflect what an athlete she is," Griffith said in a statement. "Sela's a dedicated teammate. She consistently buoyed our offense and defense, no matter the score or situation."

This award celebrates the nation's top high school athletes for their excellence on the field as well as in the classroom and in the community. Rodriguez maintained a 3.71 weighted GPA and volunteered locally by being a youth softball coach and making blankets for patients with the Providence Alaska Children's Hospital.

"I wanted to be amazing, I wanted to be someone's idol, I wanted to take my team to state, I wanted to play in the championship game, I wanted to earn (Gatorade Player of the Year), I wanted to win (and) those were my goals," Rodriguez said. "So taking inspiration from such a determined player like (two-time award winner) Emily (McCutcheon) inspired me to work just as hard as she did, and it paid off. But absolutely none of this would've been possible without my teammates, coaches, and my family."