UNION COUNTY — The Union County Lady Yellow Jackets had a tremendous softball season that culminated in the team claiming the 2017 Class AAAA State Championship. Now one of the players from that championship team is being recognized for her efforts on the field, that helped lead the Lady Jackets to the title.
The Gatorade Company named rising junior pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh the 2016-2017 South Carolina Softball Gatorade Player of the Year on Monday in a press release. According to the release, 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 Betenbaugh as South Carolina’s best high school softball player. She is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award that will be announced later in June.
Betenbaugh, who was an all-region and all-state selection this season after going 14-4 from the circle of UCHS with a 1.44 ERA and 118 strikeouts, also had a batting average of .495 with 43 RBIs. Betenbaugh was also a star in the classroom as she was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA.
Bailey is the daughter of Donnie and Crystal Betenbaugh. Bailey has committed to play softball in college at the University of South Carolina.
Bailey said the she was very grateful for her parents and all the coaches that have helped make her a better softball player over the years. She also said that she has been playing softball since she was about two years old and has always loved the game.
As part of this award, Gatorade will donate $1,000 to a youth sports league of Bailey’s choice. Bailey chose to have the grant sent to the Union County Girl’s Fastpitch Softball Association, stating she chose that organization because that is where she got her start and wanted to be able to help support young girls getting started in the sport she loves.
Betenbaugh joins Roscoe Crosby (2000-2001, Baseball and Football) and Trevor Booker (2005-2006) as the only Yellow Jackets to receive this honor in their sports.
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, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg.