By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
An elite defensive player in the field is one of the most invaluable commodities a team can dream to have.
There is no way to effectively quantify the amount of runs saved, abbreviated base-running advancements or rallies thwarted that a defensive gem protects.
Int he word of analytics in sports, maybe we are not too far away from a “runs saved” statistic — almost like a reverse RBI metric.
Even without it, it is easy to identify an elite player with the glove.
When you see it, you know.
And the best of the best are so valuable that their award is made of gold.
The Gold Gloves.
And this year’s winners are presented below, as I proudly introduce my 7th annual High School Baseball Gold Glove winners.
Senior centerfield and third base
Notable Statistics: 10 putouts, 4 assists, 1 error, .933 fielding percentage.
Coach Joe Peterson: “Garit is a two-time all-conference selection in the outfield in his sophomore and junior seasons. He is an incredibly gifted athlete. He has that unique ability to cover gap to gap in centerfield. As a coaching staff, we have put a lot on Garit’s plate this spring. We have asked him to move to third base due to a hole there from pitching. He has handled it extremely well and is thriving there as well.”
Notable Statistics: 1.000 fielding percentage this season.
Coach Mike Paes: “Jackson is one of many players of former Garfield teams that have come up as a different position player that was converted into a centerfielder. His speed is insane and it shows when you watch him track a fly ball. He is a lock in the outfield, and I always feel comfortable when the ball is hit in his direction. On top of that, he is a great kid and enjoys the game of baseball.”
Notable Statistics: .962 career fielding percentage (3-year starter).
Coach Mike Haney: “DD is a fantastic athlete that flashes moments of defensive brilliance on a daily basis. His ability allows him to get to plays that are oftentimes hits for other defenders. His overall speed is also matched with an explosive arm that can make any throw. He is a difference-maker in the middle of our defense that plays fearless.”
Junior third base
Notable Statistics: 6 putouts, 1.000 fielding percntage.
Coach Matt Dillon: “Austin has become a really good third baseman, and he understands the position. He has improved his fielding and has a strong arm to compliment his smooth fielding. More importantly, Austin has really matured as an overall player and works to get better everyday.”
Notable Statistics: 25 putouts.
Coach Lee Lovejoy: “E-Man covers gap to gap, and he reads the ball well off the bat. His speed and athleticism allows him to take away balls that typically wouldn’t even be caught, but he finds a way to make them look routine. I don’t think there’s been a game yet this year where we haven’t seen Emmanuel make a diving catch.”
Senior second base
Notable Statistics: Along with third baseman Tony Karp, Carson is the lone returner on the infield with any varsity playing experience. He also carries over a 4.2 grade-point average.
Coach Keith Waesch: “Carson is just a tremendous kid, who pours his heart and soul into whatever he sets out to accomplish. He is not the biggest or fastest player in our program, but few are going to outwork Carson from February through May.”
Junior catcher and second base
Notable Statistics: .974 fielding percentage.
Coach Mitchell Ray: “Logan is truly a reliable defender. He has the range to make the quick plays when he is the middle infield and the baseball IQ to be one of our reliable options behind the plate. His defensive skills are an asset to this program.”
Notable Statistics: 3-0 record, 24 strikeouts, .000 ERA, 3 complete-game shutouts.
Coach Chris Scisciani: “Jack is doing an unbelievable job this year as our No. 2 pitcher. He keeps working hard and executing our plan on the mound and that is why he is being so successful. We are very excited about his success this season and hope he continues to keep throwing strikes.”
Junior first base
Notable Statistics: 1.000 fielding percentage.
Coach Jeremy Randles: “Drew is a tremendous athlete that has had a great season so far at first base. He has had several great diving plays to save balls from going by him, as well as pulling down a lot of balls that are thrown high. His 6-foot-3 frame makes him a great target to throw to.”
Senior shortstop, catcher, second base, pitcher
Coach Jake Eye: “Chase has been a staple defensively for our team the last two years. A field general and our leader, he is extremely versatile and has the ability and athleticism to play anywhere on the diamond at any given time during a game. He is as consistent as it gets when making the routine play and has proven time and time again that he can make the impossible ones as well.”