Photo courtesy of Paul Dotson
CHICAGO — In its 31st year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Evan Lee of Bryant High School as its 2015-16 Gatorade Arkansas Baseball Player of the Year. Lee is the fifth Gatorade Arkansas Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Bryant High School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Lee as Arkansas’s best high school baseball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, Lee joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Roy Halladay (1994-95, Arvada West HS, Colo.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman HS, Tenn.), Chipper Jones (1989-90, Bolles School, Fla.), Derek Lee (1992-93, El Camino HS, Calif.) and John Lester (2001-02, Bellarmine Prep, Wash.).
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior left-handed pitcher and outfielder led the Hornets (30-2) to the Class 7A state championship this past season. Ranked as the state’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2016 by Prep Baseball Report, Lee posted a 9-0 record on the mound with a 0.54 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 52 innings. A 2015 First Team All-State selection and the 2016 Class 7A state tournament MVP, he produced a .462 batting average with three home runs and 31 RBI this spring.
Lee has maintained a 4.07 GPA in the classroom. A member of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered locally on behalf of an elementary school literacy-outreach program, a community cleanup initiative and in association with his church youth group.
“Evan Lee displayed great mound presence and body language and is a great team player,” said Alan Hardcastle, head coach at Siloam Springs. “He is by far the best pitcher we have faced this year.”
Lee has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at University of Arkansas this fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Lee joins recent Gatorade Arkansas Baseball Players of the Year Andy Pagnozzi (2014-15, Fayetteville High School), Trevor Ezell (2013-14, Bryant High School), Carson Shaddy (2012-13, Fayetteville High School), Trey Killian (2011-12, Mountain Home High School), Dillon Howard (2010–11, Searcy High School), Brandon Moore (2009-10, Van Buren High School), D.J. Baxendale (2008–09, Sylvan Hills High School), Tyler Wilson (2007-08, Greenwood High School), and Scott Sammons (2006-07, Searcy High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
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