Refugio Baseball Practice

Refugio’s Jared Kelley pitches the ball during a baseball practice in Refugio.

Jared Kelley had his senior season at Refugio cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Kelley more than lived up to expectations in his three starts for the Bobcats.

Kelley did not allow a hit and recorded 34 of his 36 outs by strikeout.

Kelley’s performance did not go unnoticed, and Thursday he was selected as the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year in baseball.

The Gatorade State Player of the Year award was established in 1985 to recognize the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character.

“It’s a blessing,” Kelley said. “I worked hard and for them to choose me is just an honor.”

Kelley had a 3-0 record, and was hitting .476 with three home runs and 12 RBIs when the season was canceled.

The Bobcats were ranked No. 1 in the state Class 2A poll and were hoping to make the school’s first appearance at the state tournament.

“It’s an extremely prestigious award, and it could not have gone to a more humble and deserving kid,” said Refugio coach Jarod Kay. “In my opinion, he’s the best high school player in the state of Texas, and I’m really happy for him.”

Kelley is rated one of the top prospects in the nation and has been predicted to be a first-round selection in the June 10 Major League Baseball amateur draft.

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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