FORT WAYNE – Huntington North junior pitcher Erin Rethlake was named the 2013 Gatorade Indiana Softball Player of the Year on Thursday.
The award is for play on the field, along with academic achievement and exemplary character.
I am very appreciative of all of it, Rethlake said. I know it is a big honor, and I am so excited to get it. I dont think I knew of how much of an honor it was at first. I was excited but didnt really understand it.
Rethlake is now a finalist for the National Softball Player of the Year award, which will be announced this month.
The 5-foot-9 left-handeder led the Vikings (26-3) to the semistate finals with a 23-1 record, a 0.18 ERA, 317 strikeouts and 23 walks in 154 innings pitched.
The Kentucky recruit hit .486 with 14 home runs and 36 RBI.
It was nice coming out healthy, said Rethlake, who missed 19 games last year because of an injury. I wasnt trying to do too much, and that set up this year having a good season that way. I just let things happen and things fell into place.
Rethlake was named first-team all-state.
That was what I was most excited about, Rethlake said of being an underclassman for an award normally going to a senior. I know there were a bunch of other girls as seniors, and even sophomores, so it was cool.
The Vikings were the Class 4A state runners-up last year.
They fell short of returning to the state final with a 2-1 loss to Portage in nine innings in the semistate this year.
That was our main goal this year, Rethlake said of going back to state. I would much rather be going to state than getting this award, but thats OK, we still have another year.
To not be there this year and to know someone else beat us out for that spot (at state) drives everybody to want it more next year. We are not too OK with losing, so it will be motivation for next year.