Connor Podeszwa of Waterford has been named the Gatorade Connecticut Baseball Player of the Year.
The award stays with a Waterford player after it was won by Jared Burrows last year despite no season being held.
Podeszwa, a senior pitcher and second baseman, joins other recent Gatorade Connecticut Baseball Players of the Year Chad Knight (2018-19, Staples), Pat Winkel (2017-18, Amity) and Ben Casparius (2016-17, Staples).
He is the third baseball player from Waterford to win the award along with Burrows and 2010 winner Colin O’Keefe.
The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.
He is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award to be announced in July.
On the mound, Podeszwa went 8-0 with a 0.92 ERA, pitching six complete games. He struck out 83 batters in 49 innings and walked just seven batters.
At the plate, he hit .343 with a .567 slugging percentage and .443 OBP with 26 runs scored and 26 RBIs, one home run and 10 doubles.
He was named to the GameTimeCT First-Team All-State, CHSCA Class M All-State and was named First-Team All-ECC.
Waterford reached the Class M Semifinals, losing to eventual champion East Catholic.
He will play baseball at Tufts University.
Off the field, he was a member of the Spanish Honor Society, Seal of Bi-literacy and a 2020 Soccer Scholar Athlete Award.
Podeszwa has maintained a 3.80 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade award’s broad criteria.
Additionally, he is a member of his school’s student council and volunteers at his church’s food festival and as a youth baseball coach.
Through Gatorade’s marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Podeszwa will be awarded a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. Podeszwa is eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization he chose is deserving of one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year.
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. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which works with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
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