Between mythical fastballs and miraculous medical rebounds, the legend of Canyon Del Oro hurler Kenzie Fowler continues to snowball.

This morning, the 71 mph stitchslinger — whose 309 strikeouts led the Dorados to a repeat 4A-I state title this season — was honored as the 2008 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, during a short ceremony at the school.

“I just want someone to hit me so I can wake up, because this is so overwhelming,” Fowler said. “I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be National Player of the Year.”

Fowler was the first-ever junior presented with the softball award, which stems from her second-straight selection as Gatorade Arizona Softball Player of the Year.

The University of Arizona commit didn't get a chance to celebrate last year's distinction, though.  Fowler spent the summer recovering from three surgeries, after doctors removed blood clots in her throwing arm.

Hot off this season's 24-1 record and 0.28 ERA, Fowler's now in the running for Gatorade’s Female High School Athlete of the Year Award, presented before July’s ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.  

That distinction would place Fowler among a lofty bunch that includes softball and volleyball gold medalists Cat Osterman and Kerri Walsh — not to mention 2007 Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning.

“Those are the best athletes in the world. Just to see my name next to them, I just kind of freak out,” Fowler said.

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