CHICAGO — Incoming South Carolina softball freshmen Reganne Bennett (Novi, Mich./Novi) and Sage Mardjetko (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) were named the Gatorade Player of the Year in their respective states. It’s the second Player of the Year award for Mardjetko, who also earned the honor in 2022.
In its 38th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, the award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Both are now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year award to be announced in June.
Bennett, a 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher and first baseman, batted .598 with 18 home runs and 20 doubles this past season, leading the Wildcats (25-12-1) to the Division 1, District 19 tournament final. Bennett scored 60 runs and drove in 63 while posting a .664 on-base percentage and a 1.295 slugging percentage. In the circle, she posted an 11-5 record with a 1.12 ERA, fanning 239 in 131 2-3 innings pitched. She is ranked as the nation’s No. 18 recruit in the Class of 2023 by Extra Inning Softball.
Bennett has volunteered locally with the Novi High School Unified Basketball team, a program that empowers individuals with and without intellectual disabilities to engage through the power of sports. She has also donated her time as an elementary school classroom aide. Bennett has maintained a weighted 4.06 GPA in the classroom.
Mardjetko led Lemont to the back-to-back Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 3A state championships, capping off her career with a 12-inning, 24-strikeout, no-hitter in the state championship on Saturday (June 10). She also threw a no-hitter in the 2022 IHSA state championship. In 2023, the 5-foot-10 right-handed pitcher finished with a 23-0 record and a 0.00 ERA, leading the Indians to a 35-1 record. The state’s returning Gatorade Player of the Year, Mardjetko struck out 340 batters while allowing just 18 hits and 21 walks in 143 1-3 innings over 24 games. She fired 12 no-hitters, including two perfect games, and allowed just three unearned runs all season. Mardjetko becomes only the second pitcher in IHSA history to finish a season with a 0.00 ERA (min. 70 innings). Ranked as the nation’s No. 10 recruit in the Class of 2023 by Extra Inning Softball, she also batted .348 with five home runs and a .667 slugging percentage.
A member of the Lemont High School Athletic Council, Mardjetko has volunteered locally with Young Hearts for Life, a heart-health screening program, and as a peer tutor. Mardjetko has maintained a weighted 4.30 GPA in the classroom.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media, and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
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