CHICAGO— In its 29th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, has announced Braxton Davidson of T.C. Roberson as its 2013-14 Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year. Davidson is the third Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from T.C. Roberson.
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 Davidson as North Carolina’s best high school baseball player. Davidson 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-3, 215-pound senior left-handed pitcher compiled a 4-2 record with four saves, a 1.94 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 47 innings this past season, leading the Rams (16-11) to the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 4-A tournament. A returning 4-A First Team All-State selection as named by the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association, Davidson, also a first baseman and center fielder, batted .462 with five home runs, 11 doubles, 14 stolen bases, 20 RBI and 34 runs scored. He participated in the Perfect Game All-American Classic this past summer at PETCO Park in San Diego, Calif.
Davidson has maintained a 3.58 weighted GPA in the classroom. In addition to volunteering daily with Roberson’s Progressive Education Program, he has served as a youth instructor on behalf of the Ted E. Tourist Adaptive Baseball League.
“He’s a beast,” said Alex Smith, head coach at rival McDowell High. “He’s far different than most high school players we normally see year in and year out. He’s so good at the plate and in the field. He’s pretty dang good on the mound. He’s controlled and throws strikes. He just has so many tools.”
Davidson has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of North Carolina this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
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.
Davidson joins recent Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Players of the Year Ryder Jones (2012-13, Watauga High School), Corey Seager (2011-12, Northwest Cabarrus High School), Dillon Maples (2010 – 11, Pinecrest High School), Matt Roberts (2009-10, Graham), Brian Goodwin (2008–09, Rocky Mount), Tyler Hanover (2007-08, North Davidson), and Madison Bumgarner (2006-2007, South Caldwell) among the state’s list of former award winners.
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