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Jesuit’s McCullers earns Gatorade award

Posted May 30, 2012 by Bill Ward

Updated May 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Jesuit senior pitcher Lance McCullers, who led the Tigers to the Class 5A state semifinals with a 13-0 record and 140 strikeouts, has been named Gatorade’s Player of the Year for Florida.

The award was selected by a panel of ESPN high school reporters and analysts based on three primary criteria: athletic production and impact, academic achievement and personal character.

On the mound, McCullers, a right-hander, was jesuit’s ace this season. Besides his impressive record and strikeout total, he posted an ERA of 0.18 and just 30 walks over 77.1 innings. Offensively, McCullers batted .280 with two home runs and 21 RBI, stole 10 bases in 10 attempts, scored 27 runs, had an on-base and slugging percentage of .467.

In the past year, he’s reaped numerous other awards. Most recently he won the Tampa Tribune’s 2012 Player of the Year honor. Last season, he was the Jackie Robinson Award winner as the country’s top rising senior, earned all-American honors from ESPNHS, Baseball America, Perfect Game, MaxPreps and Louisville Slugger. In 2010, he made seven appearances for USA Baseball’s Under-18 National Team and also took part in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game and 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic.

In the classroom, McCullers has maintained a B average and, off the field, has been a volunteer with the Special Olympics, Metropolitan Ministries, the Head Start Program and Bakas Equestrian Center for intellectually challenged children. In addition, he has donated time to be part of a local literacy-outreach program and has been a speaker for middle school children and as part of multiple food drives in association with Jesuit High.

McCullers has signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of Florida but is projected as an early round selection in next month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

To view other states’ Gatorade Player of the Year winners in baseball, follow this link: http://espn.go.com/blog/high-school/player-of-the-year/post/_/id/8270/gatorade-state-baseball-players-of-the-year

Photo: McCullers in action at the Class 5A regional finals against host Lake Wales, where he hurled more than 120 pitches in six innings. Photo by Bill Ward/The Tampa Tribune.

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