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Saturday, May 26, 2012
Eye on POY: Kansas 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.

Justin Burba
Senior outfielder, Haysville Campus (Wichita)

2012 Team record: 18-4
2012 Team standing: Lost in first round of Class 6A state tournament

2012 Batting average: .500
2012 RBI: 23
2012 Runs: 28

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Oklahoma

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 First Team All-State; 2011 Second Team All-League; 2011 Area Code Games Participant

Collin Wiles 
Senior RHP/shortstop, Blue Valley West (Overland Park)

2012 Team record: 20-1
2012 Team standing: Will play in Class 6A semifinals on May 26

2012 W-L record: 8-0
2012 ERA: 0.10
2012 Strikeouts: 76
2012 Innings: 49.33

2012 Batting average: .375
2012 RBI: 10

Academics:
B average
Collegiate destination: Vanderbilt

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

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.

Garrett Cleavenger: Senior LHP, Lawrence (KS)
Nolan Barrientos: Senior third baseman, Bishop Carroll (Wichita)
Ryan McBroom: Senior second baseman, Maize (Wichita)

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.