Spring 2011 Athlete of the Year:

SHELBY BRYANT, Junior—Softball

* SMAA All-Conference, first team

The 2010 McAuley softball team was a pleasant surprise, winning 11 games, making the playoffs and restoring the program’s pride.

The 2011 squad had its hand full in producing an encore, but it rose to the occasion, setting a new record for wins and reaching the semifinals for the first time.

Leading the way for the Lions, once again, was centerfielder and leadoff hitter Shelby Bryant. Bryant cemented her status as one of the league’s top hitters, caught everything hit in her vicinity in the outfield and was a speed demon on the basepaths.

She set the tone for the team’s excellence and in light of her myriad skills, The Forecaster is naming Shelby Bryant as McAuley’s Spring 2011 Athlete of the Year. Bryant also won the award in 2010.

Bryant, a South Portland resident, started playing softball in middle school. She also plays soccer, but has made a name for herself on the diamond and this spring was more of the same.

The Lions won their first 11 games and Bryant played a key role from the get-go. Setting the tone for the season, Bryant drove in the winning run in a come-from-behind victory in the opener over Bonny Eagle. She tripled in a win a Cheverus, had a pair of hits in a victory versus Kennebunk, singled, tripled and scored a run against Sanford, homered, doubled and singled versus Westbrook, drove in the winning run with a double against Windham, had three hits (including a triple), scored twice and again drove in the winning run versus Noble, had two hits against Gorham and played stellar defense throughout the winning streak. Bryant also had a pair of hits in McAuley’s first loss, to Thornton Academy.

The next game, versus Scarborough, Bryant caused all Lions’ fans’ to hold their breath when she left the game with a right knee injury, but returned to rap two hits. Playing at less than 100 percent, she had four hits in a loss to Biddeford and homered and drove in two versus Portland.

For the regular season, Bryant hit .526, scored 21 times, stole 12 bases, drove in 19 runs and had four assists from the outfield.

In the playoffs, she scored a run and stole a base in the Lions’ quarterfinal round win over Kennebunk and tripled in a semifinal round loss to South Portland.

Bryant, who plays with the Frozen Ropes Thunder U-18 team, is a member of McAuley’s Varsity Club, Key Club and Ethical Leadership. She hopes to improve her stats even more her senior year and looks to play in college. She’s considering several schools and hopes to eventually teach.

She’s shown everyone how to be a softball standout and figures to still have a few lessons up her sleeve next year. Shelby Bryant, McAuley’s Spring 2011 Athlete of the Year, continues to raise the bar for excellence.

Coach Robbie Ferrante’s comment: “Shelby got everything going for us this year. I’ve been coaching for 33 years and she is the best leadoff hitter I’ve ever had.”

2010 winner: Shelby Bryant (softball)

2009 winner: Erin Woodbury (tennis)

2008 winner: Katelyn Call (softball)

2007 winner: Abby Iselborn (track)

2006 winner: Abby Iselborn (track)

2005 winner: Abby Iselborn (track)

2004 winner: Maureen Wark (lacrosse and track)

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