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Jesuit OF Josh Bell named best in Texas

Dallas Jesuit senior outfielder Josh Bell was named the 2010-11 Gatorade/ESPN RISE Texas Baseball Player of the Year on Wednesday.

The 6-3, 206-pound Bell, who has led the Rangers (34-9) to the Class 5A regional semifinals, had a .548 batting average with 13 home runs, 54 RBIs, 54 runs and a 1.054 slugging percentage. A two-time team MVP and rated the nation’s No. 6 prospect in the Class of 2011 by Baseball America, Bell struck out only five times in 139 plate appearances this season.

He's now eligible for the national player of the year award, which will be announced later this month.

Bell has maintained an 87.2 average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a youth mentor, on behalf of the Special Olympics and in association with various community clean-up initiatives.

“What an awesome gift Josh Bell has,” said Dorman Pryor, coach of rival Sunset High. “He can run, throw and hit with the best of them. I like to speak with gifted kids just to gauge their level of maturity and he seems like a very level-headed, unassuming young man.”

Bell has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Texas this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in this month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. However, Baseball America has reported that Bell has told the Major League Scouting Bureau that he doesn't want to sign with a professional team.

Former winners from Texas include Jameson Taillon (2009-10, The Woodlands), Shelby Miller (2008-09, Brownwood), Taylor Jungmann (2007-08, Georgetown) and Blake Beavan (2006-07, Irving).