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: Nathan Kirby
School: James River (Midlothian, Va.)
Weight: 180 pounds
Athletic achievement: Kirby led the Rapids to a 17-6 record entering the Group AAA Central Region semifinals, scheduled for Wednesday. A Preseason Second Team All-American as named by Perfect Game USA, he owned an 8-1 record with a 1.39 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched through 23 games. Kirby batted .434 with two home runs and 15 RBI. He produced a .642 slugging percentage and .474 on-base percentage.
Academic excellence: Kirby has maintained a 3.43 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time at the local hospital’s pediatric ward and as a youth baseball instructor, he has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics, Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation for cancer research, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and as part of Military Appreciation Day.
“He has been everything for us this year,” said James River head coach Pete Schumacher. “He has traditionally been a dominant pitcher, but this year he’s started at first base whenever he hasn’t pitched and has the second-highest batting average on our team. He’s been the ultimate leader. He’s only given up earned runs in three games. He’s got three pitches that he throws for strikes, and has been exceptional this year.”
THE FUTURE: Kirby has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Virginia this fall.