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: Korey Dunbar
School: Nitro (W.Va.)
Weight: 215 pounds
Athletic achievement: Dunbar led the Wildcats to a 26-9 record and a berth in the Class AAA state semifinals against Fairmont Senior (Fairmont, W.Va.), scheduled for Thursday. The All-Mountain State Athletic Conference Player of the Year, he batted .462 with nine home runs and 34 RBI through 35 games this season. Dunbar produced a .637 on-base percentage and .901 slugging percentage. He owned a 4-2 record with eight saves and a 0.53 ERA in 53 innings pitched. Dunbar led the South Carolina Diamond Devils 17U Black squad to the CABA 18U Wooden Bat World Series national championship this past summer, recording two hits in the title game.
Academic excellence: Dunbar has maintained a 4.30 weighted GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society, he has volunteered on behalf of H20 for Life as a fundraiser for the construction of a well in Ngome, South Africa.
“He’s a great catcher, and he’s always been a good hitter,” said Robert Massey, head coach at rival Capital (Charleston, W.Va.). “He instills fear in his opponents. He’s the one kid that -- if there weren’t a ton of scouts watching -- I would’ve walked him every time. I walked him with the bases loaded. It’s a lot easier to give up one run than four. The kid can hit. He’s a specimen.”
THE FUTURE: Dunbar has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of North Carolina this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in next month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.