Dowling wins prestigious honor


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ST. JOSEPH — The individual numbers Bailey Dowling put up this spring on the softball diamond this spring for St. Joseph-Ogden stood out.

So much that the SJ-O sophomore earned the state's Gatorade Player of the Year, announced on Monday.

Dowling, an Alabama commit, hit .657 with 21 home runs and 70 RBI, following up an impressive freshman season.

As a freshman, Dowling hit an area-record 22 home runs to go along with 66 RBI and a .650 average.

Her 43 career home runs already have her tied for 13th in state history, and she only needs to hit 18 more to become the state's all-time leader in that category.

Current Illinois catcher Stephanie Abello, a Benet Academy product, hit 60 in her prep career.

Dowling is the first SJ-O player to receive this statewide honor.

The shortstop played an integral role in the Spartans finishing 32-4, winning a Class 2A sectional title for the fourth straight season and advancing to the Elite Eight.

With this honor, Dowling is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year honor, which will be announced later this month.