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Friday, May 18, 2012
Eye on POY: New Jersey 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.

Robert Kaminsky
Junior left-handed pitcher/centerfielder, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.)

2012 Team record: 19-5
2012 Team standing: Non-Public A state playoffs begin on May 21

2012 Batting average: .429
2012 RBI: 18
2012 Runs: 20

2012 W-L record: 6-0
2012 ERA: 0.00
2012 Strikeouts: 66

Academics: B average
Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: No. 35 ranked prospect in Class of 2013 as rated by Perfect Game USA. 2012 Preseason First Team All-American as named by Perfect Game USA. 2012 Preseason First Team All-State selection as named by ESPNHS. 2011 First Team All-Bergen County selection. 2012 Preseason Underclassmen Second Team All-American as named by Perfect Game USA.

Austin Solecitto
Senior left-handed pitcher, Indian Hills (Oakland, N.J.)

2012 Team record: 16-6 (Group III)
2012 Team standing: Group III state playoffs begin on May 21

2012 W-L record: 4-1
2012 ERA: 0.61
2012 Strikeouts: 67

Academics: A-minus average
Collegiate destination: Boston College

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: No. 347 ranked prospect in Class of 2012 as rated by Perfect Game USA. 2012 Preseason First Team All-Region selection as named by Perfect Game USA. 2012 Preseason First Team All-State selection as named by ESPNHS. 2011 Second Team All-League selection. 2011 Preseason Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American as named by Perfect Game USA.

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.

Andrew Biggs: Senior right-handed pitcher, Millville (N.J.)
George Iskenderian: Senior shortstop, Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)
Chris Oakley: Junior right-handed pitcher/first baseman, St. Augustine Prep (Richland N.J.)
Joe Ogren: Senior shortstop/right-handed pitcher, Jackson Memorial (Jackson, N.J.)
Michael Sheppard: Senior right-handed pitcher, Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.)

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.