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Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Eye on POY: Georgia Baseball

By Joel Beck

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.

Byron Buxton
Senior outfielder/RHP, Appling County (Baxley, GA)

2012 Team record: 29-2
2012 Team standing: Will play in Class AA quarterfinals on May 15

2012 Batting average: .552
2012 RBI: 24
2012 Runs: 56
2012 Stolen Bases: 34

2012 W-L record: 7-0
2012 ERA: 1.59
2012 Strikeouts: 105
2012 Innings: 52.2

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Georgia

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: No. 2 Ranked Prospect in the Class of 2012 by ESPNHS; No. 2 Ranked Prospect in the Class of 2012 by Baseball America; No. 3 Ranked Prospect in the Class of 2012 by Perfect Game No. 1 Ranked Draft Prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law; 2010 and 2012 Region Player of the Year; 2011 First Team All-State;

Matt Olson
Senior first baseman/RHP, Parkview (Liliburn, GA)

2012 Team record: 25-5
2012 Team standing: Will play in Class AAAAA quarterfinals on May 15

2012 Batting average: .386
2012 RBI: 42
2012 Runs: 25

2012 W-L record: 11-0
2012 ERA: 1.23
2012 Strikeouts: 70
2012 Innings: 68

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Vanderbilt

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2010-2011 Gatorade Georgia Baseball Player of the Year; 2011 First Team All-State; 2010 and 2011 Region Player of the Year; 2010 and 2011 First Team All-County

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.

Kyle Carter: Senior LHP/Outfielder, Columbus (GA)
Lucas Sims: Senior RHP/shortstop, Brookwood (GA)
Duane Underwood: Senior RHP/Outfielder, Pope (Marietta)

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.