Charlotte, NC – Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jackson Rutledge of San Jacinto (TX) has been named a semifinalist for the USA Golden Spikes Award, the coveted honor awarded to the top amateur baseball player in the nation who exhibits exceptional on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship.
"San Jac has given me every opportunity to succeed and be where I am today, and that is largely because of the people there," Rutledge stated. "The coaching staff has created a winning environment because of their emphasis on player development and individual success, which has lead to both team success and players moving on to the next level. Providing tools like a top notch indoor facility, rapsodo and trackman technology, and arm care equipment demonstrates the investment that is made by the program into the advanced player development part of the game along with individualized approaches to coaching. Along with this, player feedback was a large part of the relationship between players and coaches, making it possible for more players to stay healthy, make jumps, and move to the next level."
Annually reserved for the top NCAA Division I baseball player, Rutledge becomes just the third NJCAA baseball player to reach the semifinal round of voting since 2010. The St. Louis, MO native joins former Southern Nevada standouts Phil Bickford (2015) and Bryce Harper (2010).
Harper and former Miami Dade star hurler Alex Fernandez (1990) are the only junior college players to win the award.
Past winners of the prestigious honor include Jason Varitek, Mark Prior, Tim Lincecum, David Price, Buster Posey, and Kris Bryant.
Rutledge currently boasts the top ERA among all NJCAA DI pitchers with a 0.87 mark. Rutledge's power fastball has helped rack up 134 strikeouts on the year to go along with a 9-2 record on the mound.
"For myself, I had a well thought out plan to my year before I showed up to campus," Rutledge added. "Rather than changing that into something they think is better, the coaches kept me on track, held me back or pushed me when I needed it, and gave me the tools and time to execute my plan. While the junior college route may not be for everyone, those with the maturity, dedication, and ambition to be great will find success. San Jac and junior college baseball rewards hard workers more than any other level of amateur baseball, and that is something that I have discovered and used to my advantage this past season. The relationships I have made with coaches and teammates are life long, and the choice I made to attend San Jac was one of the best decisions I have made in my career."
The initial Golden Spikes Award list featured over 100 names to start the season and have been narrowed down to the final 25, a list that includes the top players from premier programs such as Arizona State, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt.
The 2019 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award will be presented on Friday, June 14, on ESPN.
Fans are encouraged to vote throughout the semifinal round and can vote up to 25 times per day. For more information on how to vote, visit: USA Golden Spikes Award