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Friday, May 18, 2012
Eye on POY: North Dakota baseball

By Ben Rohrbach

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.

Dwight Mack
Senior catcher, Mandan (Mandan)

2012 Team record: 9-11 (Class A)
2012 Team standing: Class A state tournament begins May 31

2012 Batting average: .516
2012 RBI: 8
2012 Runs: 7

2012 W-L record: 1-1
2012 ERA: 6.00
2012 Strikeouts: 7

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: North Dakota State University

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Producing a .581 slugging percentage and .634 on-base percentage. Battling a fractured left thumb and partially torn ligament injury this spring. 2011 American Legion state champion. 2011 Class A First Team All-State selection. 2012 & 2011 All-Western Dakota Association selection. 2012 Class A state champion.

Andy Young
Senior shortstop/right-handed pitcher, West Fargo (West Fargo)

2012 Team record: 21-4 (Class A)
2012 Team standing: Class A state tournament begins May 31

2012 Batting average: .420
2012 RBI: 27
2012 Runs: 28

2012 W-L record: 3-0
2012 ERA: 1.48
2012 Strikeouts: 28

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Owns a 4.7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 2011 American Legion state runner-up. 2011 Class A First Team All-State selection. 2011 Class A All-Tournament selection. 2011 All-Eastern Dakota Conference selection. 2011 Class A state runner-up.

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.

Aaron Green: Junior right-handed pitcher/infielder, South (Fargo, N.D.)
Casey Quinlan: Junior right-handed pitcher/outfielder, Davies (Fargo, N.D.)
Taylor Steen: Senior catcher/right-handed pitcher, Red River (Grand Forks, N.D.)

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.