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Jessica Spigner: Conquering Viking

Pitcher honored as Gatorade California Player of Year

Posted: June 11, 2008 2:40 a.m.
Updated: August 12, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Jessica Spigner plays in a CIF-Southern Section Division I Softball semifinal game on May 27 at Santiago High School in Corona.

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Like a conquering Viking, Jessica Spigner just keeps on reaping the rewards.

On Tuesday, Spigner was named the Gatorade California Softball Player of the Year as a pitcher.

The senior is a finalist for the National Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, which will be announced this month.

She has a good chance of winning. Out of the 10 years since the award has been announced, five from California have been named National Player of the Year.

"It's quite an honor," said Valencia softball head coach Donna Lee. "It's well-deserved. She had a great season. All the rewards are coming in for all her hard work."

A fantastic Valencia High School softball season was topped off by the ultimate prize.

On June 1 in Irvine, in the CIF-Southern Section-Toyota Division I championship game, Spigner threw a four-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over Simi Valley.

Valencia defended its sectional crown and finished 29-5-1 this season. Spigner pitched all of those games except for one, in which the Vikings tied. She struck out 222 batters in 236 innings pitched.

Spigner signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at the University of Tennessee this fall. She will likely play third base, where she played before she was a starting pitcher this season.

Spigner is the second softball player from Valencia High to receive the Gatorade state honor.

The first was her former teammate, Jordan Taylor, in 2007, making Valencia the first California high school to have different girls receive the Gatorade California Softball Player of the Year award in consecutive seasons.

"It shows how hard the girls in our program work," Lee said. "None of this could've been accomplished without hard work."

U.S. Olympic team pitcher Alicia Holowell, who won an NCAA Women's College World Series with the University of Arizona in 2006, won the award for Fairfield High School, in 2001 and 2002.

This is the 10th year Gatorade has awarded state and national players of the year for softball.

Spigner was recently named as a CIF Scholar-Athlete, was chosen as the Foothill League MVP, and she sported a .480 batting average, scored 38 runs, hit 12 home runs and had 37 runs batted in.

Spigner earned a 3.91 grade-point average, while taking honors classes.

She was recognized for athletic excellence and high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.

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