MO State HS Sports

Walker and Abruscato Named Gatorade Softball Players of the Year

2023 Softball Gloves_MizzouSBStadium_SB_vsOleMiss_LD_04162023_001

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri softball freshmen Madison Walker and Stefania Abruscato were both named 2022-23 Gatorade Softball Players of the Year. Walker earned the honor in Kansas while Abruscato secured the laurel in New York.

Madison Walker

Walker, a 5-10 third baseman from Olathe, Kansas, led Olathe West High School to a 24-1 record and the 6A state championship this past season.

The Sunflower League Player of the Year, Walker batted .659 with 71 RBI, 50 runs and 39 extra-base hits, including 18 home runs, which matched the state single-season record. She concluded her prep career with 28 long balls, which also ties the state record.

Walker is also a National Honor Society member and has volunteered locally as a peer tutor in the Homework Center at Olathe West HS.

She has also served as an instructor for youth softball players in the community. Walker also has donated her time to multiple community service initiatives through her church youth group.

In the classroom, Walker has maintained a 4.0 GPA.

Stefania Abruscato

Abruscato, a 5-7 catcher from Hauppauge, New York, batted .655 with nine home runs this past season, leading Hauppauge High School (18-6) to the Class A, Section XI championship game.

She scored 39 runs, drew 29 walks, and struck out just once.

Ranked as the nation’s No. 13 recruit in the Class of 2023 by Extra Inning Softball and a member of the USA Softball Under-18 National Team, Abruscato swiped 15 bases and drove in 42 runs while posting a .769 on-base percentage and a 1.431 slugging percentage.

Abruscato has volunteered locally at the Hauppauge Youth Organization and as a youth softball coach. She has also donated her time to multiple community service initiatives through her church.

Abruscato has maintained a weighted A average in the classroom.

Walker and Abruscato were both members of head coach Larissa Anderson’s 2023 Recruiting Class that ranked 14th overall in the nation by Extra Inning Softball. The duo will join Marissa McCann, Abby Hay, Nathalie Touchet, Danielle Blackstone, and Claire Cahalan this fall ahead of the 2024 campaign.

Gatorade Player of the Year

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.

Being a Gatorade Player of the Year means paying it forward for the next generation. Through Gatorade’s Play it Forward initiative, every Player of the Year receives a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners, supporting Gatorade’s ambition to fuel the future of sport. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.

For nearly 40 years, Gatorade has honored high school athletes at the top of their game as teammates, supporting their communities and achieving academic success. From CEOs and coaches to star athletes and community leaders, Gatorade Player of the Year winners showcase the power of sport.

To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit or follow us on social media on Facebook at, Instagram at and Twitter at


For all the latest on Mizzou Softball, stay tuned to and follow the team @MizzouSoftball (TwitterInstagramFacebook).

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics