This one took Caitlyn Brooks by surprise.
After a successful junior season with the Burbank High softball team, Caitlyn Brooks has already started stockpiling awards.
Along with being named the Pacific League Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, the pitcher was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Assn. All-West Region first team and garnered All-CIF Southern Section first-team accolades earlier this week.
But her latest award came as a shocker. Brooks was one of just 48 players chosen for the 2014 NFCA High School All-America softball teams, as the right-hander was a third-team selection upon the selections' release Tuesday.
"I didn't even know that award existed, so it was a really big shock when my coach told me that I had made it," Brooks said. "That is something that I really didn't expect. But I was so honored when my coach told me … it was really awesome.
"There are some very good players across the nation and to be even considered among them with something like this is a very big honor."
The NFCA High School All-America teams are selected by a committee of head coaches from a pool of players that previously earned first-team All-Region recognition in five regions. The athletes were honored on three 16-player All-America squads.
"That is definitely a pretty big award," Burbank Coach Mike Delaney said. "When you take into consideration that only 48 kids from across the country from five different regions get this honor, that tells you what a big award this is. It is a great accomplishment on her part.
"But she definitely deserved it. You look at her stats that are on the spread sheet that they sent out to all the coaches and her numbers are right up there with the better pitchers that had comparable innings this season."
With the University of Notre Dame-bound Brooks leading the way, the Bulldogs went 24-4 in 2014 and captured their second straight Pacific League championship with a 14-0 mark. Brooks was as efficient in the circle as she was at the plate.
In the circle, Brooks had a 21-4 record and a 1.18 earned-run average over 160 innings. In addition, she struck out 258 and walked 22.
At the plate, she had a .513 average (40 for 78) and drove in 42 runs, had seven doubles, six triples and five home runs. She also ended with a .948 slugging percentage and a .623 one-base percentage. In addition, Brooks drew 25 walks, as many teams chose to pitch around her.
"It's nice when you win an award like this because it just proves that all the hard work that I put in paid off," Brooks said. "That's a pretty good feeling."
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