TEMPE – The Arizona State University softball team’s incoming crop of freshmen continue to pile up the accolades as pitchers Breanna Macha and Dale Ryndak were each named the Gatorade Softball Players of the Year for their respective states on Thursday.
Macha is coming off her fourth consecutive Arizona 5A High School Championship while Ryndak has led her Downers Grove North squad to the Illinois IHSA sectional title game, set to take place today.
The last Sun Devil signee to be named a Gatorade Player of the Year is now-departed senior Dallas Escobedo, who won the Arizona honor in 2010. Oddly enough, Escobedo is the player that both athletes will be looking to follow the footsteps of in the circle for Arizona State.
Macha and Ryndak’s selections doubled the Gatorade Player of the Year honors for incoming freshmen for the Sun Devil softball program in the last decade.
The 5-foot-6 senior right-handed pitcher and first baseman Macha posted a 22-5 record in the circle along with a 1.02 ERA this past season, leading the Mountain Lions (30-6-1) to their fifth straight Division I state championship and the fourth consecutive title with her serving as the team’s ace.
Macha struck out 256 batters and walked 40 in 186 innings pitched. At the plate, she batted .365 with four home runs, 23 RBI and a .563 slugging percentage. A two-time First Team All-Arizona selection, she was the winning pitcher in the state championship game all four years of high school.
Macha has maintained a 3.25 GPA in the classroom. A volunteer with the Red Mountain High audio-visual department, she has donated her time locally to a food bank and homeless shelter and as a youth softball coach and umpire.
The 5-foot-5 senior right-handed pitcher, first baseman and outfielder Ryndak compiled a 22-1 record and a 0.23 ERA in the circle for the Trojans (28-2-1) entering the Class 4A sectional semifinals. Through 31 games, Ryndak fanned 218 batters and issued just 10 walks in 153 innings pitched.
At the time of her selection, she owned a .451 batting average with 27 extra-base hits, 38 runs scored and 41 RBI. She was a 2012 Second Team All-State honoree as named by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Illinois Coaches Association.
Ryndak has maintained a 3.84 weighted GPA in the classroom. A member of the German National Honor Society, she has volunteered locally as a peer tutor and youth softball instructor as well as at a retirement facility and the West Suburban Humane Society.
ABOUT THE GATORADE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Gatorade Player of the Year award was established in 1985 to recognize and celebrate the nation's most outstanding high school talents for their athletic achievement, academic excellence and exemplary character. Now in its third decade, the Gatorade Player of the Year award has become one of the most prestigious accolades in high school sports. USA TODAY High School Sports, in partnership with The Gatorade Company, administers the selection process for Gatorade State and National Player of the Year awards. All final selection decisions are the result of a collaborative effort between USA TODAY High School Sports and The Gatorade Company.
The Gatorade State Player of the Year award winners are evaluated and selected on the basis of three criteria: Athletic Achievement — success made at the club, national or international levels of competition, and standout performances in their respective sport. Includes statistical production, honors, skill-set evaluation, leadership ability, overall impact on team success and historical context of accomplishments. Academic Excellence — review of GPA and class rank, as well as SAT and ACT scores, academic honors and distinctions. Exemplary Character — overall sportsmanship, but also membership and participation in positive activities that demonstrate commitment to character and community. State Player of the Year award winners are eligible for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award in their respective sports. For complete program details, click here
After Gatorade State Player of the Year awards are announced, a Gatorade National Player of the Year is chosen. Each sport's pool of state winners is evaluated further on their athletic achievements, academic excellence and exemplary character. The 12 national winners selected represent the nation's best all-around high school student-athletes and are then eligible for Gatorade Male and Female Athlete of the Year.