WALKER NAMED GATORADE NM PLAYER OF THE YEAR
CHICAGO (May 23, 2019) — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Hayden Walker of St. Pius X High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade New Mexico Baseball Player of the Year. Walker is the first Gatorade New Mexico Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from St. Pius X High School.
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 Walker as New Mexico’s best high school baseball player.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior left-handed pitcher led the Sartans to 24-5 record and the Class 4A state title this past season. Walker compiled a 9-1 record on the mound with one save, a 0.48 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched. He issued 19 walks, holding opponents to a .090 batting average and posting a WHIP of 0.621. Rated as the nation’s No. 206 left-handed pitcher in the Class of 2020 by Perfect Game, he earned Second Team All-State honors as a sophomore.
A weekly volunteer at the Roadrunner Food Bank, Walker also donates his time to the Albuquerque Baseball Academy “Throw Cancer a Curve” charitable initiative. This season, he partnered with Kershaw’s Challenge, a faith-based non-profit empowering at-risk children that was launched by three-time Cy Young Award winning Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, the 2005-06 Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year. As part of the organization’s Strikeout to Serve drive, Walker solicited $1 donations for every strikeout he recorded, raising more than $1,000 for charity with his season total of 95. “Hayden Walker is a tremendous expression of New Mexico high school baseball values at their finest,” said Tim Campos, head coach at Manzano High. “He has an uncommon work ethic, which has allowed him to be an outlier amongst his peer group. His high character, success on and off the field and leadership are all deserving of the highest honors.”
Walker has maintained a 3.46 GPA in the classroom. He has made a verbal commitment to play baseball on scholarship at Pepperdine 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.
Walker joins recent Gatorade New Mexico Baseball Players of the Year Chase Silseth (2017-18, Piedra Vista High School), Trevor Rogers (2016-17, Carlsbad High School), Nathaniel Garley (2015-16, Eldorado High School), and Jared Mang (2014-15 & 2013-14, Los Alamos High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
press release courtesy Gatorade
Here are some highlights from Walker’s no hitter in the quarterfinals of the state tournament
Here is a profile of Hayden Walker earlier in the season