The Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For a list of the other Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Zach Linginfelter
School: Sevier County (Sevierville, Tenn.)
Position: Right-handed pitcher and first baseman
Weight: 232 pounds
Athletic achievement: He led the Smoky Bears to a 30-13 record and a berth in the Class AAA state tournament, scheduled to begin May 24. A 2015 Under Armour All-America Baseball Game selection, Linginfelter owned a 7-2 record with a 1.60 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched through 43 games. He batted .455 with nine home runs, 17 doubles, 25 runs scored and 51 RBI entering the regional state tournament
Academic excellence: Linginfelter has maintained a 3.45 GPA.
Exemplary character: In addition to donating his time as a youth baseball instructor, he has volunteered working the concession stand at sporting events and serving meals at his church during the holidays.
“On the field, he is an absolute game-changer at our level, both on the mound and at the plate,” said Nathan Fritz, head coach at rival Morristown-Hamblen High West. “What he does on the mound easily speaks for itself, but just his presence in the lineup makes you pitch the entire team differently. And I haven’t even mentioned what he can actually do in the box.”
THE FUTURE: Linginfelter has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Tennessee this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in June’s Major League Baseball draft.