Kayla Bonstrom can add another line to her softball resume.
The recent Canyon Del Oro High School graduate was named Gatorade’s Softball State Player of the Year, a prestigious award that also makes her a finalist in the Gatorade National Player of the Year contest.
The award recognizes athletes from each sport who excelled in athletics, academics, and sportsmanship.
“I was very surprised and honored,” said Bonstrom. “There are very good softball players in the state of Arizona, and I’m very thankful to be recognized among such athletes.”
Bonstrom became the third Dorado in history to be recognized as the State Player of the Year, joining former players Mattie Fowler and Kenzie Fowler. Kenzie was also named National Player of the Year two years in a row.
“It’s amazing to win the same award they did,” said Bonstrom. “They are awesome people and players, and I’m quite honored.”
In her final year as a Dorado, Bonstrom was a nightmare for opposing teams on all sides of the ball.
Bonstrom posted a 17-3 record from the pitching mound, managing 128 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched and a 3.12 ERA.
When Bonstrom’s solid pitching wasn’t enough to get the job done, her clutch hitting was often the game changer.
Bonstrom batted .603 with 71 scored runs, 63 RBIs, and 16 homeruns. Bonstrom’s reputation as a power hitter clearly reached the ears of opposing pitchers, who often resorted to intentionally walking her throughout the season.
But as fate would have it, Bonstrom had the opportunity to do what she does best in her final swing as a Dorado, smacking a two run homerun out of the park to lift CDO to an 11-9 state championship win over Peoria Sunrise Mountain.
“It was nice to see some pitches that last game, but I just tried to do my job the entire season, whether that was hitting or taking walks,” she said. “Our team had strong enough bats this season to keep the hits going.”
The state title was the third in four years for Bonstrom, who will take her talents to Stanford University next year.
“I’m very excited to go to Stanford,” she said. “I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life. It will be great to play against such a high level of competition.”
Bonstrom will also take with her an excellent academic record, achieving a weighted 4.35 grade point average.
Bonstrom will find out later this month if she is named National Player of the Year.