Outstanding Hitter of the Year: Claire Stucker
She's qualified because: First baseman powered the Knights to a 26-8 record, the County/Metro Athletic Conference title and into the Central Section Division I final by hitting .528 with a school single-season record nine home runs, 11 doubles, two triples, 23 runs and 41 RBIs. CMAC co-MVP had an on-base percentage of .653 and slugged 1.000. An elbow injury limited her to three games in the circle, where she went 2-0 with a 0.88 ERA in 16 innings. "Claire is just a game-changer in every sense of the word," Bullard coach Jaime Maxey said. "She can hit it over the fence at any time and can hit for average, which is an amazing combination."
Building her résumé: Through three varsity seasons, the Mississippi State commit has emerged as one of the greatest hitters in Bullard's storied history. Stucker leads in career home runs (18), is third in average (.440), doubles (30) and RBIs (102), and second in walks (47). She's 10th in school history in wins (30), eighth in strikeouts (197) and ninth in ERA (1.28).
Moving to the top: Because many teams choose to not pitch to or pitch around Stucker — she drew 25 walks, 11 intentional — Maxey moved her most powerful hitter to the leadoff spot. Maxey made the move to try to get teams to at least consider pitching to Stucker, who homered to lead off the D-I final against Central, a game the Knights would lose 2-1. "At first I didn't handle it well. I tried to swing at pitches I knew were balls hoping they would throw me a strike," she said. "But then I realized a free base helps the team and I trusted my team to do the rest."