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Friday, May 25, 2012
Eye on POY: Kentucky 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.

Ryne Combs
Senior LHP/outfielder, Bryan Station (Lexington)

2012 Team record: 32-15
2012 Team standing: Will begin state tournament June 4

2012 W-L record: 7-1
2012 ERA: 0.55
2012 Strikeouts: 82
2012 Innings: 52

2012 Batting average: .427
2012 RBI: 16
2012 Runs: 16

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Kentucky

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2009-2011 First Team All-State; 2009-2011 First Team All-District; 2012 Rawlings Central All-Region Team

Jonah Philley
Senior RHP/shortstop, Eastern (Louisville)

2012 Team record: 34-7
2012 Team standing: Will begin state tournament on June 4

2012 W-L record: 8-0
2012 ERA: 1.58
2012 Strikeouts: 58
2012 Innings: 48.67

2012 Batting average: .351
2012 RBI: 18
2012 Runs: 25

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Louisville

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 First Team All-State; 2011 First Team All-District

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.

Walker Buehler: Senior RHP, Henry Clay (Lexington)
Michael Bollmer: Senior RHP/first baseman, Bryan Station (Lexington)
Chase Mullins: Senior LHP, Bourbon County (Paris)

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.