THE WINNER: Keegan Thompson
School: Cullman (Ala.)
Weight: 205 pounds
Athletic achievement: He owned a 9-2 record with two saves, a 1.25 ERA and 124 strikeouts against just eight walks in 72.2 innings-pitched this past season, leading the Bearcats (31-19) to the second round of the Class 5A state tournament. The state’s 2010-11 Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year as a sophomore, Thompson batted .420 with nine home runs, 19 doubles, 35 runs scored and 43 RBI. He owned a .536 on-base percentage and a .740 slugging percentage.
Academic excellence: Thompson has maintained a 3.60 GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and his school’s Key Club International chapter, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, The Miracle League and the Children’s Advocacy Center of Cullman. Thompson has also donated his time to area youth as a baseball instructor and as part of aliteracy-outreach initiative.
“He’s unbeatable,” said William Booth, head coach of rival Hartselle (Ala.). “His work ethic is unquestionable — the best of anybody. He’s dedicated his life to baseball. I wish he were at Hartselle. We’ve had some great games with them, and he’s the reason that Cullman has been where they’ve been the last four years. There’s not one better. Not in Alabama. He’s that good.”
THE FUTURE: Thompson has signed with Auburn,but is projected as an early round selection in next month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.