In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade joined with RISE Magazine to name senior pitcher TYLER STOVALL of HOKES BLUFF HIGH as its 2007-08 Alabama Baseball Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior left-handed pitcher finished with a 14-1 record and a 0.94 ERA, recording 201 strikeouts in 89 innings this season to lead the Eagles (25-5) to the Class 3A state championship. A returning Super 10 All-State selection as named by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, Stovall produced a .531 batting average, 49 runs scored, 42 RBI and seven home runs. Also a member of the 2007 USA Baseball Junior National Team, he owns the state career records for wins, strikeouts and doubles. As a junior, Stovall set the state single-season records for winning percentage and strikeouts.
Also a standout football and basketball player, Stovall has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom and ranks first in his class. In addition to donating his time to the Special Olympics, he volunteers as part of multiple community-service initiatives on behalf of the Leo Club, the National Beta Club and his church. Stovall also mentors and tutors elementary and high school students.
"This is my 34th year coaching, and this is the only time I've seen anybody like him," said Hokes Bluff head coach Mike Estes. "He's left-handed. The hardest I've seen him hit on the gun is 96, and that's not even his best pitch. He's got a hard slider, and the bottom just falls out. He is driven. He's got a mindset that he's going to accomplish a lot of good things in baseball. I think he's going to be a real good pitcher for somebody in the major leagues someday."
Stovall has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Auburn University this fall.