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High school baseball: MaxPreps Player of the Year in every state

Potential MLB Draft picks Max Clark, Alex Clemmey, Blake Mitchell and Thomas White among selections.

Each year since 2008, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school baseball. America’s source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2023 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Each state’s MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team, which is scheduled to be released July 3.

MaxPreps State Players of the Year

Hayes Harrison, Oxford
6-0 | 180 | Pitcher | Senior
In leading Oxford to the Class 6A state championship, Harrison was the state tournament most valuable player. For the year, he had a 13-0 record with a 0.13 ERA and 82 strikeouts. He was also solid at the plate with a .382 batting average and 38 RBI.

Liam Lierman, Eagle River
5-11 | 150 | Pitcher | Sophomore
The winner of the Cook Inlet Conference Don Rabung MVP Award, Lierman batted .395 in 15 games with 18 runs, seven RBI, 10 stolen bases and 21 walks. He also threw a no-hitter as a pitcher and went 4-1 with 44 strikeouts and a 0.54 ERA in 26 innings pitched.

Roch Cholowsky, Hamilton (Chandler)
6-2 | 185 | Shortstop | Senior
Cholowsky was the top hitter for a Hamilton team that won its second straight Class 6A state championship. He led the Huskies in batting average (.466), runs (45), home runs (11) and triples (5). He was also second on the team in RBI with 35.

Steele Eaves, Lonoke
6-0 | 195 | Pitcher | Senior
Eaves was the MVP of the state championship game, a 6-3 win over Ashdown that gave Lonoke its first baseball state title since 1969. Eaves gave up just one hit through six inning en route to is 13th win of the season (13-0). He finished the year with 133 strikeouts in 76.2 innings pitched. He also batted .351 with six home runs and 37 RBI.

Trent Caraway, JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano)
6-2 | 205 | Shortstop | Senior
The Lions won their second straight Southern Section championship with Caraway leading the way. He batted .462 and broke the school record for base hits in a season with 49. Former MLB No. 1 draft pick Royce Lewis held the previous record. Caraway also had 20 RBI, 11 doubles and seven home runs and was named Southern Section Division 1 Player of the Year.

Walker Martin, Eaton
6-2 | 185 | Shortstop | Senior
Martin led Eaton to the Class 3A state championship and a 29-0 record. He led the nation in home runs with 20 and also batted .633 with 75 RBI, 64 runs and 11 doubles. He also had a string of nine straight games with a home run.

Hiro Wyatt, Staples (Westport)
6-1 | 185 | Pitcher | Senior
Wyatt led Staples to the Class LL state final, throwing eight innings and striking out nine against eventual champion Fairfield Warde but did not get a decision. Wyatt ended the year 7-0 with 99 strikeouts and a 0.67 ERA.

Tyler August, Delaware Military Academy (Wilmington)
6-2 | 205 | Pitcher | Senior
Named state player of the year by the coaches association, August posted a 5-1 record with a 1.40 ERA. He had a no-hitter and also struck out 78. At the plate, August batted .411 with 20 RBI, five doubles and a home run.

Christian Rodriguez, Stoneman Douglas (Parkland)
6-0 | 200 | Pitcher | Senior
The top pitcher on the nation’s No. 2 team and the two-time Class 7A champions, Rodriguez went 12-0 on the season including a 0.69 ERA in 70.2 innings with 117 strikeouts. For his career, Rodriguez went 29-2 with a 1.19 ERA and 310 strikeouts.

Drew Burress, Houston County (Warner Robins)
5-9 | 175 | Outfielder | Senior
Although his stats weren’t quite as high as last year, Burress still was among the state leaders in multiple categories with an additional accomplishment he didn’t have last year – a state championship. He batted .430 with 59 RBI, 52 runs, 17 doubles and 13 home runs. He finished his career with 30 home runs, 28 doubles and 132 RBI in two seasons.

Elijah Ickes, Kamehameha Kapalama (Honolulu)
6-0 | 175 | Shortstop | Senior
Ickes led the state in multiple offensive categories while helping his team win the Division 1 state championship. He led Division 1 with 34 hits, 25 runs, 21 stolen bases and a batting average of .500.

Robert Orloski, Middleton
6-2 | 175 | Pitcher | Senior
Middleton finished fourth in the Class 5A state tournament and Orloski was one of the top two-way players in the state. He batted .480 with 46 runs, 24 RBI, seven triples, six doubles and two home runs. He also posted a 7-1 record with a 1.38 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 56 innings.

Blake Wolters, Mahomet-Seymour (Mahomet)
6-4 | 215 | Pitcher | Senior
One of the nation’s top two-way players, Wolters earned all-state honors by the coaches association. He batted .442 with 45 runs, 37 RBI, 10 doubles, nine home runs and three triples. He will likely be drafted as a pitcher, however, as he went 7-1 with a 0.42 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 48.2 innings pitched.

Max Clark, Franklin Community (Franklin)
6-1 | 190 | Outfield | Senior
A candidate for national player of the year, Clark is regarded in some circles as the No. 1 high school prospect in the country. Clark batted .646 on the season and finished with a career batting average of .551. He also had 45 runs, 33 RBI, nine doubles, five triples and six home runs.

Blake O’Brien, Saint Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park)
6-0 | 185 | Outfielder | Junior
The Class 5A player of the year by the state coaches association, O’Brien led Aquinas to a third-place finish in the state tournament. He had 85 strikeouts in 49.1 innings pitched, which ranked as the second-highest total in the state. He also had a 1.14 ERA and batted .363 with 13 doubles, three triples and a home run.

Elijah Underhill, Christian County (Hopkinsville)
6-1 | 190 | Outfield/Pitcher | Senior
Underhill earned Mr. Kentucky honors from the coaches association for his performance as a pitcher and an outfielder. He batted .430 with 54 runs, 28 RBI, nine doubles, eight home runs and four triples as well as 34 stolen bases. As a pitcher, he struck out 115 batters and had a 2.65 ERA and a 6-4 record.

Landon Victorian, Barbe (Lake Charles)
6-3 | 185 | Pitcher | Junior
One of the nation’s top pitchers in the Class of 2024, Victorian led Barbe to a 39-1 record and its 12th state championship in program history. Victorian picked up the 5-1 win over Sulphur in the semifinals of the Non-Select Division 1 playoffs and finished the season with an 8-0 record and 80 strikeouts in 50.1 innings pitched. He ends the year with just four walks allowed and a 0.97 ERA.

Gabe Gifford, Old Town
5-8 | 160 | Pitcher | Senior
Gifford led Old Town to the Class B state championship and an 18-4 record. He batted .514 with 30 runs scored, 18 RBI, eight doubles, five triples and a home run. On the mound, he went 8-0 with a 0.75 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 65.2 innings pitched. He had double-digit strikeouts in nine straight games with back-to-back games of 18 Ks.

Parker Thomas, Archbishop Spalding (Severn)
6-3 | 195 | Pitcher | Senior
Thomas led Archbishop Spalding to the MIAA A championship with a 9-0 record on the mound that included 89 strikeouts and a 0.70 ERA in 59.2 innings pitched.

Thomas White, Phillips Academy (Andover)
6-5 | 210 | Pitcher | Senior
One of the top prospects to ever come out of Massachusetts, White is considered the top lefthanded pitcher in the nation by several scouting services and he could be the first high school pitcher selected in the July MLB Draft. He went 6-1 with a 0.21 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched.

Jarren Purify, University Liggett (Grosse Pointe Woods)
5-11, 160 | Shortstop | Senior
Ranked as the No. 2 senior in Michigan by Perfect Game, Purify led the Knights to the Division 2 championship game and was named to the all-state team by the coaches association. He batted .437 with 15 doubles, 31 RBI, 44 runs and eight home runs. He was also voted Detroit High School baseball player of the year.

Drew Rogers, Mounds View (Arden Hills)
6-0 | 215 | Catcher | Junior
The Metro Player of the Year by the Star Tribune, Rogers ranks as one of the top catchers in the nation in the Class of 2024. He batted over .400 with nine home runs and 46 RBI.

Cooper Pratt, Magnolia Heights (Senatobia)
6-5 | 205 | Shortstop | Senior
Pratt led Magnolia Heights to a 40-3 record, including a 36-game win streak to finish the season, while posting a 10-0 record and a 0.14 ERA with 66 strikeouts. He also batted .469 with 50 RBI and 38 stolen bases.

Tate McGuire, Liberty North (Liberty)
6-3 | 205 | Pitcher | Senior
McGuire was the top player for the Class 6 state champions. He batted .360 with two home runs and 39 RBI. On the mound he posted a 11-0 record with a 0.25 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched.

Tyson Lewis, Millard West (Omaha)
6-2 | 195 | Shortstop | Junior
The Wildcats went 32-7 on the year and finished second in Class A. Lewis led the state in stolen bases with 41 and batted .460 with 37 runs, 37 RBI, 11 doubles, three triples and two home runs. He also led the state in hits with 58.

Easton Shelton, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
6-5 | 225 | First Base | Senior
The Gaels won the state championship for the first time since 2015 thanks to the play of Shelton, who led the team in multiple offensive categories. He batted .400 with a team high 48 RBI, 44 hits, 39 runs and 12 home runs. He led the state in home runs and set a state record with a deep shot in seven straight games.

New Hampshire
Aiden O’Connell, Bedford
6-2 | 190 | Pitcher | Junior
O’Connell is a two-sport star at Bedford, also scoring over 1,000 points in his career in basketball. He had a 6-1 pitching record in the spring, striking out 65 in 33 innings with a 1.27 ERA. He also batted .453 with 18 RBI, five doubles, two triples and four home runs.

New Jersey
Steven Echavarria, Millburn
6-2 | 180 | Pitcher | Senior
Perfect Game ranks Echevarria as the top prospect in the state as a pitcher although he excels as a hitter as well. He struck out 80 batters and had a 0.28 ERA in 50 innings pitched. He also batted .305 with 22 runs, 35 RBI, seven doubles and five home runs.

New Mexico
Steven Milam, Centennial (Las Cruces)
5-8 | 165 | Shortstop | Senior
Milam led the state in slugging percentage (1.313), hits (52), runs (65), doubles (18) and triples (nine) while helping the Hawks compile a 26-5 record. He also tied for the state lead with 50 RBI and finished seventh with seven home runs. On the mound, he pitched 13.2 innings and struck out 23 batters.

New York
Sam Stafura, Walter Panas (Cortlandt Manor)
6-0 | 185 | Shortstop | Senior
A potential first round draft pick, Stafura led Walter Panas to a Section 1 championship and a Class A state runner-up finish. He batted .516 with 50 runs, 40 RBI, 14 doubles, four triples and 11 home runs.

North Carolina
Walker Jenkins, South Brunswick (Southport)
6-3 | 215 | Outfield | Senior
The Class 3A POY by the state coaches association, Jenkins is the top prospect in the country according to Perfect Game. He batted .417 with 33 runs scored, 32 walks and two home runs.

North Dakota
Cole Barta, Grand Forks Central (Grand Forks)
5-11 | 180 | Catcher | Senior
The Eastern Dakota Conference Player of the Year, Barta also made the all-state team as chosen by the state coaches association. He batted .514 with four doubles, three home runs and two triples. He will play at Minot State.

Colt Emerson, John Glenn (New Concord)
6-1 | 195 | Shortstop | Senior
Named the Division II state player of the year by the coaches association, Emerson is ranked as one of the top shortstops in the country by Perfect Game. He batted .446 with 39 runs, 25 RBI with 12 doubles, three triples and eight home runs.

Alex Conover, Tuttle
6-2 | 190 | Catcher/Pitcher | Senior
Conover excelled at the plate and on the mound while leading Tuttle (37-4) to the Class 4A state championship. He batted .385 with 37 runs, 28 RBI, 10 doubles, eight home runs and two triples. On the mound, he was 11-0 with 87 strikeouts and a 0.56 ERA in 60.2 innings pitched.

Drake Gabel, West Linn
6-1 | 195 | Pitcher | Senior
Gabel outdueled Jesuit’s Noble Meyer, who is considered a MLB first round draft pick, in the Class 6A state championship game and was named Pitcher of the Year by the Associated Press. He posted an 8-0 record with 74 strikeouts and a 0.12 ERA in 58 innings pitched. He also batted .311 with seven doubles and four triples.

Miguel Hugas, Shaler Area (Pittsburgh)
6-3 | 215 | Pitcher | Senior
Originally from Venezuela, Hugas has developed into one of the top two-way players in the Keystone State. He led Shaler Area to a Class 5A state championship with an 11-0 record and a 0.71 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 71 innings pitched. He also batted .444 with 11 doubles, 34 RBI and five home runs.

Rhode Island
Alex Clemmey, Bishop Hendricken (Warwick)
6-6 | 210 | Pitcher | Senior
A potential selection in next month’s MLB Draft, Clemmey led Bishop Hendricken to a 23-3 record. He posted a 7-1 record with 98 strikeouts in just 41 innings pitched.

South Carolina
Taylor Rabe, Greenville
6-5 | 195 | Pitcher | Senior
The player of the year by the state coaches association, Rabe posted an 8-0 record with a 1.19 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched. At the plate he batted .364 and had 28 RBI.

South Dakota
Lincoln Kienholz, Riggs (Pierre)
6-3 | 185 | Pitcher | Senior
South Dakota’s MaxPreps Player of the Year in football, Kienholz led Riggs to 14 straight wins and a Class A state championship. A three-time all-state player in baseball, Kienholz batted .452 with 11 RBI, five triples, three home runs and two doubles. Headed to Ohio State to play quarterback, he posted a 5-0 record on the mound with a no-hitter, compiling a 0.42 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched.

Carson Rucker, Goodpasture Christian (Madison)
6-2 | 193 | Shortstop | Senior
Named Mr. Tennessee as a junior, Rucker had another outstanding season as a senior, leading Goodpasture Christian to the Division II Class A final. Rucker was among the national leaders with 81 RBI, 57 runs, 18 home runs, 16 doubles and a .500 batting average.

Blake Mitchell, Sinton
6-1 | 200 | Catcher | Senior
Ranked the No. 1 prospect in the state of Texas by Perfect Game, Mitchell is a potential first round draft pick in the July MLB Draft. He helped Sinton reach the Class 4A state semifinals and led the Pirates in numerous offensive categories, including runs (49), hits (42), RBI (41), doubles (15) and home runs (6).

Tyler Ball, Skyridge (Lehi)
6-1 | 195 | Pitcher | Senior
Ball was the top two-way player in the state. He batted .439 with 43 RBI, 29 runs, 11 home runs and eight doubles. On the mound, Ball posted an 8-0 record with 94 strikeouts in 58.2 innings.

Ben Alekson, Peoples Academy (Morrisville)
6-3 | 175 | Pitcher | Senior
All-state selection and Mountain Division POY for the third straight year, Alekson went 8-1 on the season with 110 strikeouts, two no-hitters and a perfect game. He also batted over .700 on the year and five home runs.

Bryce Eldridge, James Madison (Vienna)
6-7 | 235 | First Base/Pitcher | Senior
Led the Warhawks to a Class 6 state championship and was named the Class 6 state player of the year by the Virginia High School League. On the mound, Eldridge was 11-0 with 88 strikeouts and 1.30 ERA in 53.2 innings pitched. At the plate, Eldridge batted .420 with 25 RBI, six doubles and nine home runs.

Bryce Johnson, Eastlake (Sammamish)
6-3 | 215 | Pitcher | Senior
The top pitcher in the state led the Wolves to the Class 4A state championship. He went 12-0 on the mound with a 0.37 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 76.1 innings.

West Virginia
Branson McCloud, Spring Valley (Huntington)
6-2 | 185 | Pitcher | Senior
McCloud earned POY honors in the Mountain State Athletic Conference after leading Spring Valley to a 23-9 record. He was 3-1 on the mound with a 2.44 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 37.1 innings pitched. He also batted .381 with 47 RBI and eight home runs.

Cal Fisher, Deerfield
5-11 | 190 | Shortstop | Senior
Fisher helped Deerfield go 24-6 and led the state in home runs with nine. He also hit .479 with 18 doubles, 42 runs and 45 RBI. On the mound, Fisher was 5-1 with a 1.18 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched.

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