The window on the Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.
Senior right-handed pitcher/outfielder, Providence (Charlotte, N.C.)
2012 Team record: 25-3 (Class 4A)
2012 Team standing: Lost Class 4A first round to Mount Tabor, 5-4
2012 W-L record: 9-2
2012 ERA: 0.91
2012 Strikeouts: 100
2012 Batting average: .368
2012 RBI: 26
2012 Runs: 20
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: University of Arkansas
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Owned a 5.3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. No. 32 ranked prospect in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. In addition to recording two saves, hurled two shutouts and one perfect game this season. 2012 Preseason First Team All-American as named by Perfect Game USA. 2011 Preseason Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American as named by Perfect Game USA.
Senior shortstop, Northwest Cabarrus (Concord)
2012 Team record: 23-5 (Class 3A)
2012 Team standing: Lost Class 3A second round to Jesse Carson, 1-0
2012 Batting average: .532
2012 RBI: 37
2012 Runs: 32
Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of South Carolina
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Produced a 1.104 slugging percentage and .703 on-base percentage. Walked once for every two times he registered an at-bat. No. 20 ranked prospect in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. 2012 Preseason First Team All-American as named by Perfect Game USA. 2011 All-American as named by Perfect Game USA, Louisville Slugger and Collegiate Baseball. 2011 Perfect Game USA All-American Classic participant. 2011 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars invitee. 2010 USA Baseball 16U National Team member (Pan-American Games Most Valuable Shortstop).
Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.
Curt Britt: Senior right-handed pitcher, Scotland (Laurinburg, N.C.)
Max Schrock: Senior shortstop, Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.)
Trent Thornton: Senior right-handed pitcher/outfielder, Ardrey Kell (Charlotte, N.C.)
Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.