SOUTHINGTON – Flame-throwing Southington softball pitcher Stella Blanchard has yet to surrender an earned run this season. She’s pitched the Blue Knights into Saturday night’s Class LL state final.
On Friday morning, she learned she’s been named the Connecticut Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.
Blanchard is a spotless 13-0 in the circle and has yet to surrender an earned run in 71 innings. She’s only allowed 15 hits and 10 walks while striking out 151.
In addition to being the Gatorade Player of the Year, Blanchard was just named the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Pitcher of the Year.
She’s also been a force at the plate, hitting .372 on the season for the 26-0 Blue Knights.
The Gatorade Player of the Year has been selected since 1985.
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 Blanchard as Connecticut’s best high school softball player. She is a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year which will be selected in June.
Off the field, Blanchard participated in a Student Architectural Design Competition, winning the award for architectural excellence from the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Central Connecticut. A member of the Southington High School Key Club, she has volunteered locally as a youth softball coach, and she has donated her time to multiple community service initiatives through her high school softball team.
“Stella was the most dominant pitcher we have faced in the last couple of years,” Maloney head coach Scott Aresco said. “She has a good fastball and a great change-up. She’s also a tremendous hitter.”
Academically, Blanchard has maintained a weighted A average. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Southington 2000 grad Nicole deFau was the only previous Blue Knight softball player to be selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year. A shortstop, deFau hit .565 as a leadoff hitter in her senior year. She went on to play at Notre Dame.
Other Southington Gatorade Players of the Year were baseball players Carl Pavano (1994) and Sal Romano (2011) and football player Matt Kelleher (2005).