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Adenhart earns Gatorade award

May 23, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Even before he threw a pitch in a game this season for Williamsport, Nick Adenhart was receiving national attention.

Adenhart's baseball season may have ended last week, but the recognition continues to pour in for the talented junior.

Named the No. 1 junior in the nation by Baseball America this winter, Adenhart won the Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year award, announced late Wednesday night.

"It's nice to get rewarded," Adenhart said in a phone interview Thursday. "I'm still upset about how the season ended, but it's nice to get an award like this. I appreciate it."

Adenhart went 6-0 with a 1.04 earned run average during the regular season, striking out 79 in 40 2/3 innings. He batted .387 with four homers and 18 RBI.

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"He just did everything you expect of him and more," Wildcats coach Rod Steiner said.

Adenhart's best performance came in the playoffs, when he threw a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts, but lost 1-0 to Allegany and left-hander Aaron Laffey - another highly regarded pitcher - in the Class 1A West quarterfinals.

"I like the game so much that I can sit back and appreciate a game like that," Adenhart said. "I'm upset about (the loss), but you can sit back and appreciate two people doing something like that.

"Going out and competing like that is what I play for, and it's great to have somebody match your intensity and battle to the finish. It's great to have a heated battle like that and then walk over and shake his hand afterward."

Adenhart spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at St. Maria Goretti, throwing two no-hitters and posting a 0.85 ERA and 112 strikeouts his sophomore year to earn Herald-Mail All-Area honors.

Adenhart transferred to Williamsport before this school year.

"I was really excited coming back to Williamsport and playing with old friends," he said.

As for his future after high school, Adenhart is excited about the prospect of being a high pick in the 2004 amateur draft.

"I think about it a good bit," Adenhart said. "I'm excited about it and curious to see what happens."

"He takes care of his arm and we take care of it, too," Steiner said. "We have a regular routine, and we didn't overwork him. I told him we wanted to win a state championship, but we weren't going to do that at the expense of his major league career."

Adenhart figures to be busy after July 1 - when colleges can start contacting him.

"After that, it will probably get hectic around here," Adenhart said. "I'm enjoying the peace and quiet now."

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