Scottsdale Christian's Ronan Kopp named Gatorade Arizona Baseball Player of the Year
May 23, 2019 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365
CHICAGO (May 23, 2019) — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Ronan Kopp of Scottsdale Christian Academy as its 2018-19 Gatorade Arizona Baseball Player of the Year. Kopp is the first Gatorade Arizona Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Scottsdale Christian Academy.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Kopp as Arizona’s best high school baseball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Kopp joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo High School, Mich.), Jon Lester (2001- 02, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Wash.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman High School, Tenn.), Clayton Kershaw (2005-06, Highland Park High School, Texas), Rick Porcello (2006-2007, Seaton Hall Preparatory School, N.J.) and Kris Bryant (2009-10, Bonanza High School, Nev.).
The 6-foot-5, 202-pound junior left-handed pitcher and first baseman led the Eagles to a 25-1-1 record and the Conference 2A state championship this past season. Kopp compiled an 8-0 record on the mound, posting a 0.41 earned run average and 118 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched. In two postseason starts, Kopp allowed no hits and struck out an eye-popping 30 batters in 12 innings. At the plate, the Perfect Game Preseason Underclass All-American raked his way to a .522 batting average and slugged six home runs— including two grand slams in one inning on April 4—along with 11 doubles, 38 runs scored, 39 RBI and 29 steals.
Kopp has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service initiatives through his church youth group. “Ronan throws a hard fastball and mixes in a nice slider,” said Harley Hazel, head coach of Parker High. “He also has a curveball that is a great pitch for him because of the difference in speed.”
Kopp has maintained a 3.31 GPA in the classroom. He has made a verbal commitment to play baseball on scholarship at Arizona State University beginning in the fall of 2020.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Kopp joins recent Gatorade Arizona Baseball Players of the Year Matt Liberatore (2017-18, Mountain Ridge High School), Boyd Vander Kooi (2016-17, Skyline High School), Nick Brueser (2015-16, Hamilton High School), Tyler Wyatt (2014-15, Liberty High School), and Tyler Frost (2013-14, Greenway High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Kopp also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
To learn more about the Gatorade Player of the Year program, check out past winners or to nominate student-athletes, visit www.Gatorade.com/POY, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GatoradePOY or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Gatorade.