Hawaii Baseball Player of the Year

In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade joined with RISE Magazine to name senior catcher AARON FUJIKI of MID-PACIFIC INSTITUTE in Honolulu as its 2007-08 Hawaii Baseball Player of the Year.

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound senior catcher produced a .381 batting average, 23 RBI, eight runs scored and three home runs this season, leading the Owls (16-6) to the state quarterfinals and a third-place regular-season finish in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. A returning First Team All-State and Hawaii Showcase Tournament selection, Fujiki compiled a .721 slugging percentage and a .494 on-base percentage.

Fujiki has maintained a B average in the classroom. In addition to donating his time to the Winter Special Olympics at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, he volunteers as part of multiple community-service initiatives on behalf of the Mid-Pacific Holomua Honor Society, a prestigious leadership group at his high school. He also mentors youth athletes as an instructor at local baseball clinics.

"He is just the epitome of a high school baseball player," said Eric Kadooka, head coach at rival Punahou High. "He works extremely hard, and he really epitomizes everything that our league is about. As a player he is so instinctive, and he forces other teams to change their game plan. The way he plays the game is every coach's dream. You just hope you can get someone on your team with that kind of understanding of the game."

Fujiki has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at San Diego State University this fall.