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: Gavin Cecchini
School: Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
Weight: 185 pounds
Athletic achievement: Cecchini led the Buccaneers (33-6) to the Class 5A state championship this past season. Playing under mandatory wood-bat rules, he hit .413 with seven home runs, 32 RBI, 43 runs scored and 32 stolen bases. The 2010-11 Gatorade Louisiana Baseball Player of the Year, Cecchini was named Most Valuable Player of the 2011 Under Armour All-American Game played at Wrigley Field last summer.
Academic excellence: Cecchini has maintained a 3.90 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, he has volunteered locally preparing meals for needy families at Thanksgiving, assisting the elderly vacate an area nursing home during a mandatory hurricane evacuation and collecting baseball equipment for orphans in Guatemala.
“There’s literally nothing Gavin Cecchini doesn’t do well on a baseball field,” said Jesse Cassard, head coach at Zachary (La.). “I’ve seen a lot of players over the years, but never anyone like him. Everything comes so easy to him. His arm strength and footwork are so much better than everyone else. He’s the best high school player I’ve ever seen.”
THE FUTURE: Cecchini has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Mississippi this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in next month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.