Varsity Extra

Division I-bound pitcher named Idaho’s best baseball player — again

Rocky Mountain advances to state championship thanks to pitcher’s 14 strikeouts

Rocky Mountain sophomore Gabe Hughes struck out 14 in a three-hit shutout as the Grizzlies beat Bonneville 3-0 in the 5A state baseball semifinals.
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Rocky Mountain sophomore Gabe Hughes struck out 14 in a three-hit shutout as the Grizzlies beat Bonneville 3-0 in the 5A state baseball semifinals.

For the second year in a row, Rocky Mountain’s Gabe Hughes has been named the Gatorade Idaho Baseball Player of the Year.

Hughes led Rocky Mountain to a 21-7 record and a spot in the 5A state tournament. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior right-handed pitcher and first baseman compiled a record of 7-1 on the mound with an 0.91 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 53.2 innings. He also batted .365 with seven home runs, 39 RBIs and a 1.179 OPS.

Hughes, a two-time 5A Southern Idaho Conference Player of the Year, has signed with Gonzaga.

“Gabe Hughes is the most complete high school player I have ever coached,” Rocky Mountain coach Joe Santa Maria said in a press release. “His ability to change the game on the mound and at the plate makes him a dual threat. His leadership and consistency over the past years have been a great strength that have led to individual and team success.”

Last year, Hughes’ 250-word essay was selected as a spotlight grant winner through Gatorade’s Play it Forward program, and he chose the Caldwell YMCA as the recipient of the $10,000 gift.

Gatorade’s Play It Forward program works in collaboration with Gatorade Player of the Year. Each state player of the year gets to choose a local or national youth sports organization to receive a $1,000 grant from Gatorade.

Every state winner can then write an additional essay to compete for one of 12 Play It Forward grants of $10,000. Gatorade chooses one winner for each of the 12 sports it recognizes for player of the year.

Hughes has a weighted GPA of 4.15 and attends Renaissance High in Meridian, which doesn’t have a baseball team.

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Rachel Roberts has been covering sports for the Idaho Statesman since 2005. She attended Northwest Nazarene University and is Boise born and raised.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

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