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HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Brainerd's Anderson Gatorade Minnesota player of year


Brainerd’s Anderson Gatorade Minnesota player of year


Awards continued to pour in Wednesday for Brainerd High School pitcher Nikki Anderson.

The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, announced that Anderson is the 2012 Gatorade Minnesota Softball Player of the Year. She’s the first Gatorade Player of the Year from BHS.

“I was definitely surprised,” Anderson said Wednesday. “There are so many deserving softball athletes who deserve this. It’s such an honor to get this. I know there have been great athletes in the past who have gotten it.”

The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence and academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.

Anderson is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award, which will be announced later this month.

The 5-foot-10 senior left-handed pitcher posted a 20-3 record in 140 innings this season, compiling a 0.80 ERA and 227 strikeouts in leading the Warriors (20-3) to the Section 8-3A semifinals. A returning 3A second-team all-state selection by the Minnesota Fastpitch Coaches Association, Anderson also batted .389 with five doubles and 14 RBIs. A three-time all-section honoree, she led Brainerd to 3A state in 2010 and 2011.

Also an accomplished flutist, Anderson has maintained a 3.78 grade-point average in the classroom.

In addition to donating her time as a classroom assistant/mentor for students with emotional and behavioral challenges, cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities and autism-spectrum disorder, she has volunteered at the soup kitchen, as a youth softball instructor, and on behalf of fundraising for the softball program.

“Nikki Anderson is by far the most talented pitcher we have ever had,” Brainerd head coach Mike Zauhar said in a news release. “When Nikki is in the circle, we always have a chance to win as long as we can score a run.

“She is a captain who leads by example and motivates her teammates to be the best they can be.”

Anderson has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball on scholarship for the University of Minnesota this fall.

“I know I will have to work hard because I really want that starting position,” Anderson said.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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