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: Kyle Funkhouser
School: Oak Forest (Ill.)
Position: Right-handed pitcher
Weight: 190 pounds
Athletic achievement: Funkhouser led the Bengals to a 27-6 record entering the Class 3A sectional semifinals against Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights, Ill.), scheduled for Wednesday. Through 33 games, he owned an 11-1 record on the mound along with a 0.60 ERA, recording 119 strikeouts in 76.1 innings. Funkhouser was a First Team All-State selection, the South Suburban Blue Conference Player of the Year and a Rawlings/Perfect Game First Team All-Region honoree in 2011.
Academic excellence: Funkhouser has maintained a 3.32 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally on behalf of youth baseball teams and an elementary school special education program.
“Funkhouser is an all-around tremendous pitcher,” said Joe Rodeghero, head coach at Lemont Township (Lemont, Ill.). “He throws 90-plus with a good curve, and he’s been dominant for three years.”
THE FUTURE: Funkhouser has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Louisville this fall.