Val Kaff named Arizona Softball Player of the Year

The award, from The Gatorade Company and USA TODAY, recognizes athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.

Val Kaff

Mountain View's Valerie Kaff is the Arizona Softball Player of the Year. She heads to Michigan State University on an athletic scholarship in the fall.

USA TODAY announced that Valerie Kaff, 2012-13 Mountain View High School senior, is the Gatorade Arizona Softball Player of the Year. The award recognizes athletic excellence, outstanding academic achievement and exemplary character — including volunteerism, sportsmanship and leadership — on and off the field.

Kaff is the first Gatorade Arizona Softball Player of the Year to be chosen from Mountain View.

'Val is a phenomenal talent and team player'

"What makes Val so special is that she is a phenomenal talent, but her priorities all season have been about the team and about winning games," said Joe Goodman, Mountain View's head softball coach.

"She never allowed her personal ambitions to supersede what we were trying to accomplish as a unit," added assistant coaches Giles Mead and David Tellef.

The 5-foot-7 right-handed pitcher posted a 27-7 record in the circle along with a 0.84 earned-run average this past season, leading the Toros (27-8) to the Division I state tournament loser's bracket final. Kaff struck out 431 batters and walked just 65 in 216.2 innings pitched to go with 16 shutouts and two no-hitters. At the plate, Kaff batted .310 with two home runs, 18 runs batted in and a .406 on-base percentage.

Kaff maintained a 3.65 grade-point average. She volunteered at a homeless shelter, a food bank and the Salvation Army. She also spent her free time as a youth coach and umpire.

'It's a great honor to win for Mountain View'

"It's a great honor," Kaff said. "To be the first to win this award for Mountain View softball and to represent them for the last time is special," Kaff said. 

Kaff automatically becomes a finalist for the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year Award, which will be announced later this month. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on an athletic scholarship at Michigan State University this fall.

For 28 years, The Gatorade Company and USA TODAY High School Sports have honored the nation's best athletes in football, volleyball, cross country, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, and track and field. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade High School Sports Leadership Team in partnership with USA TODAY's top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of veteran prep-sports journalists.


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