Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Power Arms Vie for Aflac's National Baseball Player of the Year Honors

SSG Note: Kudos to Donavan Tate of Cartersville, GA. We're pulling for you!

PRNewswire/ -- Pitchers with incredible talent dominate the finalists as four hurlers are among the five players nominated for the fifth annual Aflac National High School Player of the Year Award, given to the country's top prep baseball player. The Player of the Year recipient will be presented with the Jackie Robinson Award, a trophy named in honor of the late Hall of Famer. Sharon Robinson, Robinson's daughter, will present the award at the Aflac All-American Awards Dinner held at the Omni Hotel on Aug. 8, 2008, in Los Angeles. Also on hand for the ceremony will be Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, who returns as honorary chairman for the 2008 Aflac All-American Baseball Game.

"We are extremely pleased to once again have Jackie Robinson's name associated with this prestigious award," said Sharon Robinson. "This award has gone to fine young men who exemplify what my father stood for, and gives recognition to the student athletes who strive for excellence and give back to the community."

  The Player of the Year nominees are:

-- Mychal Givens, INF/RHP, Plant HS - Tampa, Fla.
-- Austin Maddox, C/RHP, Eagle's View Academy - Jacksonville, Fla.
-- Tyler Matzek, LHP, Capistrano Valley HS - Mission Viejo, Ca.
-- Matthew Purke, LHP, Klein HS - Spring, Texas
-- Donavan Tate, OF, Cartersville HS - Cartersville, Ga.
-- Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy - St. Charles, Mo.

The inaugural Jackie Robinson Award, presented in 2004, went to Aflac All-American alumnus Justin Upton, a shortstop from Great Bridge HS (Chesapeake, Va.). The Arizona Diamondbacks made Upton the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 Major League Baseball June draft. Other winners were Cody Johnson, a first baseman/outfielder from Mosley HS (Panama City, Fla.) in 2005, Michael Burgess, an outfielder/pitcher from Hillsborough HS (Tampa, Fla.) in 2006 and Tim Melville, a pitcher/outfielder from Wentzville HS (Wentzville, Mo.), was honored last year.

The Jackie Robinson award, named after the first player to break the Major League Baseball color barrier, recognizes the nation's top rising senior who demonstrates outstanding character, exhibits leadership and embodies the values of being a student athlete. The player of the year nominees were determined by official Aflac All-American Baseball Game selection partner Perfect Game and media partner Baseball America.

The sixth annual Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game will be played Saturday, Aug. 9, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The event is the nation's elite high school baseball showcase featuring the top 38 rising senior players in an East vs. West match-up. The game will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports Net at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Proceeds from the game will benefit ThinkCure, the official charity of the Dodgers, which supports critical cancer research at City of Hope and Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. Since 2005, the game has generated nearly $525,000 for charity.

To learn more about the Aflac National High School Player of the Year nominees and the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Game, visit

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