A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For his 47 fellow Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Mitch Nay
School: Hamilton (City, State)
Position: Third baseman
Weight: 198 pounds
Athletic achievement: Nay batted .380 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI this past season, leading the Huskies (23-9) to the second round of the Division I state tournament. A returning Arizona Baseball Coaches Association First Team All-State selection, he produced an .837 slugging percentage and .520 on-base percentage in addition to scoring 33 runs. A member of the 2011 USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials Roster, he is the No. 9-ranked recruit in the Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS.
Academic excellence: Nay has maintained a 4.30 weighted GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth baseball instructor, he had volunteered on behalf of the Hope for Kids and Chandler Compadres organizations as well as part of a holiday gift-giving campaign to benefit the needy.
“In his first at-bat of the state tournament, he hit a monster home run,” said Scott Richardson, Arizona Baseball Coaches Association Junior Sunbelt Classic chairman. “He has the capability of being a game-changer every time he steps in the batter’s box. He forces teams to choose between letting one of the best players in the state beat you or letting someone else beat you, and a lot of people opted for someone else.”
THE FUTURE: Nay has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at Arizona State University this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in next month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.