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.
Senior RHP, Highlands Ranch (Colo.)
2012 Team record: 15-6 (Class 5A)
2012 Team standing: Class 5A first round vs. Grandview on Friday
2012 W-L record: 4-2
2012 ERA: 3.05
2012 Strikeouts: 65
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Arizona State University
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: No. 72 ranked prospect in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. 2012 Louisville Slugger First Team All-American as named by Collegiate Baseball. 2011 Class 5A First Team All-State selection as named by The Denver Post. 2010 USA Baseball 16U National Team member.
Senior RHP/OF/1B, Pine Creek (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
2012 Team record: 19-2 (Class 5A)
2012 Team standing: Class 5A first round vs. Cherry Creek on Friday
2012 Batting average: .483
2012 RBI: 24
2012 Home runs: 4
2012 W-L record: 7-1
2012 ERA: 2.07
2012 Strikeouts: 82
Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: North Carolina State University
How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Generating a .914 slugging percentage and .615 on-base percentage. Unranked prospect in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNHS. 2011 Class 5A Honorable Mention All-State selection as named by the Denver Post.
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.
Tony Audino: Senior SS/RHP, Highlands Ranch (Colo.)
Derik Beauprez: Junior 1B/RHP, Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.)
Bobby Dalbec: Junior IF/RHP, Legend (Parker, Colo.)
Griffin Jax: Junior RHP/IF, Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.)
Jordan Leinweber: Senior CF, Douglas County (Castle Rock, Colo.)
Sean Rubalcaba: Senior IF, Grand Junction (Colo.)
Brody Weiss: Junior SS, Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.)
Brent Williams: Senior C/SS, Liberty (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Steven Wilson: Senior RHP/1B/OF, Dakota Ridge (Littleton, Colo.)
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.