Slugger Honored as Nation's Top High School Baseball Player Awards for Top Pitcher, Defender, Sportsman Announced
SAN DIEGO, Aug 16, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Bryce Harper capped his high school baseball career with its highest honor Saturday night when he was named the Aflac National High School Player of the Year and presented with the 2009 Jackie Robinson Award.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound catcher from Las Vegas (Nev.) High School was presented with the sixth annual award during the Aflac All-American Awards Dinner, which salutes prep baseball's top talent. On hand to make the presentation was Sonya Pankey, granddaughter of Jackie Robinson, and Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, the Aflac All-American Classic's honorary chairman.
Harper had a phenomenal sophomore season batting .626 with 14 home runs, and 55 RBI in 39 games. He also had 72 hits and stole 36 bases.
The Aflac National High School Player of the Year recognizes the nation's top high school player who has demonstrated outstanding character, exhibits leadership, and embodies the values of being a student-athlete in both his schoolwork and community affairs. The trophy, called the Jackie Robinson Award, is named for the renowned Brooklyn Dodger, the first player to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball, and a leader in social issues off the field.
Harper was chosen from among five nominees determined by official the Aflac All-American Baseball Classic selection partner Perfect Game. The other player of the year nominees included:
- Andrew (A.J.) Cole, RHP, Oviedo High School - Winter Springs, Fla.
- Justin O'Conner, RHP/INF, Cowan Junior/Senior High School - Muncie,
- DeAndre Smelter, RHP, Tattnall Square Academy - Macon, Ga.
- Jameson Taillon, RHP, The Woodlands High School - The Woodlands, Texas
In addition to Harper fellow All-Americans were also honored at the awards ceremony. A.J. Cole, (Oviedo HS) of Winter Springs, Fla., was named Pitcher of the Year. Cole (6-5, 190), a right handed pitcher, struck out 70 batters in 48.3 innings and posted a 1.45 earned run average.
For his outstanding abilities with his glove, Rancho Buena Vista High School's Tony Wolters won the inaugural Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year award. The 5-10, 165-pound middle infielder from Vista, Calif., was solid in the field and possesses a strong, accurate arm. At the plate, he hit .380 with eight home runs among his 41 hits. He also drove in 29 run and stole 10 bases.
In a balloting of coaches, players and staff, Cameron Bedrosian (East Coweta HS) of Senoia, Ga., and Tyler Austin (Heritage HS) of Conyers, Ga., shared the Perfect Game Nick Adenhart Award. The award bears the name of Nick Adenhart, a 2003 Aflac All-American who was killed in an automobile accident hours after making his first start this season for the Los Angeles Angels.
The seventh annual Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic will be played on Sunday, Aug. 16 at Petco Park. This elite high school baseball showcase features 40 of the nation's top players in an East vs. West match-up. The game will be televised live nationally on FSN at 8 p.m. ET. As part of its ongoing commitment to the fight against childhood cancer, Aflac donated $100,000 to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Aflac also made a $20,000 donation to Coaches Curing Kids' Cancer. Since 2003, the Aflac All-American Classic has generated $805,000 for charity.
For more information about the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic and to download pictures and bios of the players, log on to http://www.aflacallamerican.com.
For more than 50 years, Aflac products have given policyholders the opportunity to direct cash where it is needed most when a life-interrupting medical event causes financial challenges. As the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States and the number one insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force in Japan, Aflac insurance products provide protection to more than 40 million people worldwide. In 2009, Aflac was recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for the third consecutive year and was also named by the Reputation Institute as the Most Reputable Company in the Global Insurance Industry for the second consecutive year. In 2009 Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the eleventh consecutive year. Fortune magazine also ranked Aflac No. 1 on its global list of the Most Admired Companies in the Life and Health Insurance category. Aflac appears on Hispanic Enterprise magazine's list of the 50 Best Companies for Supplier Diversity and on Black Enterprise magazine's list of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity. Aflac was also named by Forbes magazine as America's Best-Managed Company in the Insurance category. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com.
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