BATON ROUGE, La. – Marucci Sports announced O’Neal Lochridge of St. Thomas More and Nicky Dawson of Parkview Baptist as the recipients of the inaugural Marucci Louisiana High School Baseball and Softball Player of the Year awards.

Two of Marucci’s co-founders, Kurt Ainsworth and Joe Lawrence, are Louisiana natives who began their path to being Big League first round draft picks right here in the state. To honor its roots, the company has created the Marucci Louisiana High School Player of the Year Awards.

“We are proud to highlight two of our state’s top high school players who exemplified how to honor the game right in our backyard,” said Marucci co-founder and CEO Kurt Ainsworth. “O’Neal and Nicky have both had terrific seasons.”

In his senior season in 2015, Lochridge led the Cougars to their second-straight 4A state championship and was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 4A Most Outstanding Player.

“I would like to congratulate O’Neal for being named Marucci Player of the Year,” said St. Thomas More head coach Gary Perkins. “It’s always rewarding to see one of your players receive recognition for the hard work and dedication given to the sport they love.”

Lochridge, a shortstop, batted .454 with 12 home runs and 53 RBI with a .950 slugging percentage and stole 21 bases. Lochridge is an LSU baseball signee.

In her junior season in 2015, Dawson set school records for the Eagles in batting average (.602), hits (74), triples (14), on-base percentage (.660), runs (76), and stolen bases (59).

“Nicky Dawson just completed what may go down as the greatest offensive year in Louisiana high school softball history,” said Parkview Baptist head coach Ashlee Ducote. “To record 29 extra base hits and steal 59 bases in 35 games is a staggering feat. I believe she is the best leadoff hitter in the country and she will only get better.”

Dawson was named 1st team All-State by both the coaches and sports writers of Louisiana, as well as District 6-3A MVP, The Times-Picayune All-Baton Rouge Area Small Schools Player of the Year, and the The Advocate’s All-Metro Small Schools Player of the Year.

The shortstop also hit five home runs and 41 RBI in 2015 while recording a .950 fielding percentage. Dawson is a 2016 LSU softball signee.

About the Marucci Louisiana High School Player of the Year award

This is the first year of what will be an annual award given to the high school player in the state of Louisiana who best exemplifies excellence, leadership, and sportsmanship on the field. Winners will be presented a Marucci wood bat commemorating the recognition.