Nineteen USA Baseball Alumni and Past Event Participants Named Gatorade Player of the Year
Five National Team alumni earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors
DURHAM, N.C. - Five USA Baseball alumni and 14 USA Baseball event participants were awarded 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year awards for baseball in their respective states, USA Baseball announced on Thursday. The award is given to the nation's most outstanding high school talents for their athletic development, academic excellence and exemplary character.
Of the five alumni, Boyd Vander Kooi (Arizona), Royce Lewis (California) and Ryan Vilade (Oklahoma) were members of the 2014 15U National Team that won a silver medal at the World Baseball Softball Confederation "AA" U-15 World Cup.
Two years later, Vilade and Lewis became two-time alumni when they were named to the 2016 18U National Team. Logan Allen (Florida) and Quentin Holmes (New York) joined them and the squad won the gold medal at the COPABE Pan Am "AAA" Championships.
In addition to their national team experience, Vander Kooi, Lewis, Vilade and Allen have also participated in the USA Baseball National Team Championships, the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) and the National High School Invitational (NHSI).
Vander Kooi competed in the National Team Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Lewis participated in 2014, and Vilade and Allen both experienced the event in 2015. Vilade and Allen also represented their regions in the NTIS in 2013 and 2011-2013, respectively, while Lewis expanded his USA Baseball event experience in 2015 when JSerra Catholic High School (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) team participated in the NHSI.
In addition, 12 more players that have competed at USA Baseball sanctioned events are among the Player of the Year award recipients.
Austin Schultz (Nebraska) and Austin Wells (Nevada) participated in the 2016 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) together, and Schultz competed in the NTIS in 2015. Grant Wood (Missouri), Brennen Oxford (New Hampshire) and Alex Scherff (Texas) are also former participants of the NTIS. Tanner Burns (Alabama) was selected to participate in the 2015 17U NTDP through the National Team Championships.
Other participants of the National Team Championships include Jordon Adell (Kentucky) and Zach Kokoska (Pennsylvania) in 2014, Ben Casparius (Connecticut) in 2015 and Jesse Franklin (Washington) in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Additionally, 11 of the Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients participated in the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars in 2016, including Adell, Allen, Burns, Sam Carlson (Minnesota), Holmes, Lewis, Casey Martin (Arkansas), Jacob Pearson (Louisiana), Scherff, Alek Thomas (Illinois) and Vilade.
For more information on the Gatorade Player of the Year award, visit the official website at Gatorade.com/POY.
The complete list of former USA Baseball National Team members and event participants who have been named 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year is as follows:
Jordon Adell, Kentucky
*Logan Allen, Florida
Tanner Burns, Alabama
Sam Carlson, Minnesota
Ben Casparius, Connecticut
Jesse Franklin, Washington
*Quentin Holmes, New York
Zach Kokoska, Pennsylvania
*Royce Lewis, California
Casey Martin, Arkansas
Jacob Pearson, Louisiana
Brennen Oxford, New Hampshire
Alex Scherff, Texas
Austin Schultz, Nebraska
Alek Thomas, Illinois
*Boyd Vander Kooi, Arizona
*Ryan Vilade, Oklahoma
Austin Wells, Nevada
Grant Wood, Missouri
*denotes USA Baseball National Team alumni