MAHOPAC, N.Y. – Even in a canceled season, Shannon Becker’s dominance is hard to ignore.
The junior softball superstar, committed to the University of Notre Dame, has been named New York State’s Softball Player of the Year by Gatorade. The prominent award, first given 35 years ago, recognizes the best high-school athletes in the country.
She shares the award with some elite alumni, like Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, and Abby Wambach.
“To be in that class is an amazing achievement,” Becker said. “To even be mentioned in the same class as them is so surreal to me! But it also makes me want to work harder to become just as good and successful as they are! This is so exciting, and I am grateful to receive this award.”
Becker, who led Mahopac High School to the semifinals of the section playoffs as a sophomore in 2018-19, put up staggering statistics a year ago. In 163 innings pitched, she struck out 369 batters and allowed just 50 hits (.097 BAA) and 9 earned runs (0.39 ERA). She's also skilled with the bat, leading the Indians in batting average (.420), on-base percentage (.518), hits (29), extra-base hits (11), and runs scored (18).
She is perhaps most known for her “perfect” perfect game against Carmel on May 8, when she struck out all 21 batters she faced. The masterful performance, reported on by ESPN and others, put a national spotlight on Mahopac, which finished last season at 19-4.
But Becker, who also plays on Mahopac’s varsity soccer and basketball teams, is more than her gaudy statistics. She is civic-minded, having served as a member of the Student Athletic Council. She has also volunteered locally with youth sports programs and on behalf of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. In the classroom, she maintains an A average.
“You see those stats and records, and they’re incredible. They speak for themselves,” said Cristina Giansante, Mahopac softball coach. “But what truly matters is the kind of kid behind those stats. That’s where you really get the magnitude of this kid.
“As a coach, you couldn’t wish up a better player, role model, team player,” the coach continued. “She is dedicated, driven, and committed—although those words don’t seem to do justice. The hours she puts in on her free time, those aren’t done by many. She is constantly working to perfect her game. She knows the game inside and out, to the point where last season when I had no assistant, I would go to her for her opinion.”
Outside Mahopac, the 6-foot right-hander helped lead the East Cobb Bullets to the Triple Crown/USA 16U national championship last summer and was named a First Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
“She is selfless, she wants to win as a team,” Giansante said. “These individual records and victories are amazing, but she’s always all about for what’s best for the team. She is rare. Notre Dame hit the lottery recruiting her. I can’t wait for everything else she will accomplish.”
Follow us on Twitter (@Halston_Sports).
To our Beloved Community: During this crisis, we can’t continue to operate entirely as we have been doing when we are only earning a fraction of our previous advertising revenue and still have to pay 100 percent of our payroll. Without that payroll, we would be unable to serve the community with the news and important information you have come to expect. If you feel that we’ve made a positive difference in your town, we ask that you send us a contribution to keep your community newspaper alive and strong by pressing on our PayPal button HERE.