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Eye on POY: Rhode Island baseball

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.

David Hopkins

Junior shortstop/right-handed pitcher, East Greenwich (R.I.)

2012 Team record: 9-10

2012 Team standing: Division I regional tournament begins May 29

2012 Batting average: .380

2012 RBI: 17

2012 Runs: 18

2012 W-L record: 4-3

2012 ERA: 3.36

2012 Strikeouts: 46

Academics: B-plus average

Collegiate destination: University of Rhode Island (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Opponents walked him 20 times in 76 plate appearances. Nine steals in nine attempts. 2011 First Team All-State selection. 2010 and 2011 First Team All-Division selection. 2011 Area Code Games invitee.

T.J. Lynch

Senior shortstop, South Kingstown (R.I.)

2012 Team record: 15-4 (Division I)

2012 Team standing: Division I regional tournament begins May 29

2012 Batting average: .420

2012 RBI: 20

2012 Runs: 12

Academics: B-plus average

Collegiate destination: University of Rhode Island

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Owned a .760 slugging percentage and .548 on-base percentage. 2011 First Team All-State selection. 2010 and 2011 First Team All-Division selection. 2011 Area Code Games invitee. 2011 Summer Rivalry Baseball Classic Tournament participant.

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.

Thomas Pannone: Senior CF/RHP, Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.)

Billy Walker: Senior catcher/first baseman, Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.)

Alex Marzilli: Senior shortstop/right-handed pitcher, North Kingstown (R.I.)

Frank D’Amato: Senior second baseman, La Salle Academy (Providence, R.I.)

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.