My alma mater is facing Seton Hall Prep and Rick Porcello tomorrow. A win would be sweet for DBP. Supposedly Porcello was recently clocked at 99 and 100 mph in a relief appearance. I wish I could be there tomorrow.

Prep's Porcello to be named national player of year
Thursday, May 31, 2007
For the Star-Ledger

The days leading up to next Thursday's Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft probably won't drag for Rick Porcello, because the senior right-hander at Seton Hall Prep could be pitching in the biggest games of his high school career before that exciting day comes.

Porcello took a break from his quest for a state championship last night when he dined with his family and representatives from Gatorade and was told that he is Gatorade's National High School Baseball Player of the Year.

A press conference will be held today to make the formal announcement.

Porcello joins Willie Banks of St. Anthony of Jersey City as the only New Jersey players to receive the national baseball award, which was originated in 1986.

Banks was honored in 1987 and a few days later was drafted third overall, becoming the highest draft pick in state history and the last New Jersey pitcher selected in the first round. Porcello is expected to join that exclusive first-round company, with assorted scouting services projecting him as the second choice overall by the Kansas City Royals.

"I'm very grateful for the award and very fortunate to be in the position I'm in," Porcello said. "It's something I'd never take for granted. I had no idea this was coming. It's really nice."

The pitching numbers for the 6-5, 200-pound Porcello are spectacular enough to separate him from his national competitors for Gatorade's honor, but his hitting numbers are also outstanding.

He has an 8-0 record with as many as three games left for Seton Hall (29-1), which is No. 1 in The Star-Ledger Top 20 and also No. 1 in the USA Today national rankings. The West Orange school plays tomorrow against Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey, the state's No. 2 team, in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Non-Public A semifinals and could play in the sectional final Tuesday and the state Non-Public A championship on June 9.

Porcello has 96 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 56 innings, allowing a paltry six runs, five earned, for a 0.63 ERA and 31 hits. He also pitched a perfect game in the Greater Newark Tournament semifinals. The cleanup hitter is also batting .475 with 38 hits, including nine doubles and 10 home runs, and 46 RBI and has a .580 on-base percentage and .988 slugging percentage.

Porcello has committed to North Carolina and will continue his career there if he doesn't sign with a major-league team.

"Rick has such a high level of poise and maturity on the mound," Seton Hall Prep coach Mike Sheppard Jr. said. "He doesn't get rattled, no matter who he's facing and no matter what the situation is. He's the consummate hard worker and his greatest attribute is his personal makeup. He possesses tremendous integrity and humility."

The national baseball award's first winner in 1986 was current Detroit Tiger Gary Sheffield. Other winners have included Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

This marks the first year in which New Jersey has had two national winners. Brayan Martinez of West Orange was named the top boys soccer player on Tuesday.