A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For his 47 fellow Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Anthony Alford
School: Petal (Miss.)
Weight: 215 pounds
Athletic achievement: Alford batted .483 with four home runs, 31 RBI and 39 runs scored this past season, leading the Panthers (23-7) to the Class 6A state quarterfinals. The 2010-11 and 2011-12 Gatorade Mississippi Football Player of the Year, he is the No. 48 ranked baseball prospect in the Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. Alford posted an .805 slugging percentage and 14 stolen bases in 2012.
Academic excellence: Alford has maintained a B average in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, he has volunteered locally on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and as a youth baseball and football coach.
“Anthony Alford is an exceptional player,” said Larry Knight, head coach at Sumrall (Miss.). “He’s absolutely a special talent and he’s just on a level above all the others I’ve seen.”
THE FUTURE: Alford has signed a National Letter of Intent to play football on an athletic scholarship at the University of Southern Mississippi this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in next month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.