NORMAN, Okla. – Incoming Oklahoma softball freshmen Paige Parker (Missouri) and Nicole Pendley (New Mexico) were each named their state’s respective Gatorade Player of the Year, it was announced Thursday.
The three-time Gatorade State Player of the Year, Parker finished her senior season with a 23-2 record and miniscule 0.25 earned run average. She struck out 342 batters in just 166.0 innings while also hitting .600 at the plate with nine home runs.
“Paige Parker is bringing the lefty back into the program,” OU head coach Patty Gasso said when Oklahoma’s signing class was announced last November. “I think she’ll make an immediate impact as a freshman on the mound. She has such a high ceiling and I’m really excited about her future here. She is a hard-throwing lefty who can move it well, change speeds and can be a difference maker at the plate. She will remind fans of another lefty All-American we’re all familiar with.”
Like Parker, Pendley was also a dual threat in the circle and in the batter’s box.
In leading her team to a state championship, Pendley sported a 21-2 record with a 2.01 ERA. As a hitter, she cranked 14 home runs and hit .582.
“Nicole Pendley is going to be a fun player to watch,” Gasso said. “She’s a triple threat: she’s a slapper, she can lay down a bunt and she can hit for power. She will cause havoc for opposing defenses. She has a strong arm and has good speed in the outfield. She’s another very good athlete in this class.”
The winners were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2014 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.