Each season, Gatorade recognizes one student-athlete from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., who embodies its Player of the Year program’s three pillars: athletic production, academic achievement and exemplary character.
Each week during its Gatorade State Player of the Year selection process, USA TODAY surfaces one candidate who meets those criteria and deserves recognition as a serious Gatorade State Player of the Year contender.
Name: Colby Fitch
School: Hickman (Columbia, Mo.)
Athletic Production: Fitch reached base in every game this season, leading the Kewpies (15-6) to the Class 5 district semifinals, where they eventually fell to crosstown rival Rock Bridge on Monday.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound junior catcher batted .500 with five home runs, 25 runs scored and 22 RBI. He also walked 22 times, producing a remarkable .653 on-base percentage. Defensively, he threw out 80 percent (12-15) of would-be base stealers.
Academic Achievement: He has maintained an A average.
Exemplary Character: A devoted parishioner in his church community and an elected member of his school’s student government association, Fitch has volunteered locally on behalf of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and as a nine-year participant in the 4-H Youth Development Organization.