Big Zach attack

Juneau's Mixson named Gatorade Player of the Year

Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005

During his high school baseball career, Juneau-Douglas High School senior Zach Mixson has been a part of two state championship teams and earned first-team All-State honors as a junior.

Now Mixson can add a new honor to his already impressive resume.

On Friday, Gatorade named Mixson the 2005 Alaska Baseball Player of the Year.

The Crimson Bear is the first JDHS player to earn the honor.

"It's an honor," Mixson said. "It's definitely something I'll cherish."

The powerful first baseman and ace pitcher is fresh off a dominant regular season. The senior slugged five home runs and amassed 16 RBIs in a four-game sweep of Southeast conference rival Prince of Wales last weekend.

He also threw a no-hitter against POW.

In his last two years, Mixson is 21-3 on the hill.

Prior to the POW and Ketchikan series earlier this month, the slugger boasted an .810 on-base percentage and a .703 slugging percentage.

He's also struck out just five times in the last two years.

"It's just a great reflection of the program, not just the Juneau program but the Southeast Alaska baseball program," Juneau-Douglas coach Jim Ayers said. "My view is this is the best baseball in the state.

"Zach Mixson winning Gatorade (player of the year) is a reflection of this team and Southeast baseball."

Ayers listed former Juneau-Douglas standouts Garrett Schoenberger, Dylan Hickey, Joe Ayers, Toby Staveland and Chad Bentz as past athletes who never won the award, but went on to play baseball at the college or professional level.

"We've nominated players in the past and that's the first time anyone's ever won it," coach Ayers said. "I'll say it's about time and there's a lot of people that laid great groundwork for him."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Mixson plans on attending Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz., in the fall.

Mixson totes a B-average at Juneau-Douglas and also volunteers for hospital clean-up activities and serves as a Little League umpire.

The recipient of the award is selected by a panel of experts in conjunction with a national media advisory board. The player is chosen based on accomplishments on and off the field.

Mixson came into the season just wanting to keep pace with his teammates.

Not only has he accomplished that goal, he set a standard that Crimson Bears years from now will be trying to reach.

"It's a weird game," Mixson said. "Anything can happen. I thought maybe Pat (Kohan) or Jake (Ridle) or one of those guys would have a breakout season and I could keep up with them. But I guess I had a pretty good season.

"The team helped because they're supporting me all the time. It's a team award. It reflects the team."

• Tim Nichols can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com.



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