Archbold's Kern named Ohio's Gatorade Player of the Year

By Steve Junga / The Blade
Thu, 21 May 2020 18:32:41 GMT

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ARCHBOLD — Although he missed his senior season because of the coronavirus pandemic, Archbold High School’s Kade Kern has gotten a bit of consolation in being named as the Gatorade Ohio baseball player of the year for 2019-20.

Kern, a center fielder who will continue his career at Ohio State University, is the first Blue Streaks player to receive the Gatorade baseball award.

As a junior in 2019, the 6-foot, 195-pounder batted .431, with three home runs, 32 RBIs, and 38 runs scored in helping top-ranked Archbold (26-4) reach the Division III regional finals before losing to Coldwater (5-4, in eight innings).

“It’s awesome,” Kern said of the award. “It’s definitely a prestigious honor. To be able to receive that is very humbling. I knew there was a chance, but it’s a very hard thing to get, so this is pretty cool.

“It was hard not making it out of regionals the past few years, and this year we were definitely hoping to break out of there and do some damage down at state. So, it was pretty hard losing our season.

“This honor helps [ease the loss], but I’ll never be able to get my senior season back, and it still stinks not finding out what this team might have been able to accomplish.”

The Gatorade 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 Kern as Ohio’s best high school baseball player.

He is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade national baseball player of the year award to be announced later this month.

Kern joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including eventual Major League Baseball greats such as Derek Jeter (1991-92) of Kalamazoo (Mich.), Jon Lester (2001-02) of Bellarmine (Wash.), David Price (2003-04) of Blackman (Tenn.), Clayton Kershaw (2005-06) of Highland Park (Tex.), Rick Porcello (2006-2007) Seton Hall (N.J.), and Kris Bryant (2009-10) of Bonanza (Nev.).

Previous Gatorade Ohio player of the year award winners from northwest Ohio include Jon Niese (2004-05) and Chad Billingsley (2003), both of Defiance High School. Each later became MLB pitchers.

A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Kern has volunteered locally on behalf of his church youth group, and as a youth baseball coach. He carried a 3.78 grade-point average at Archbold.

“Kade Kern has all the tools and talent of a great player,” Archbold head coach Dick Selgo said. “He hits for power, runs well, has a very strong arm, and is an excellent outfielder. His work ethic is off the charts, and he sets a tremendous example for every player in our program.”

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 and field, and it 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.

Kern joins recent Gatorade Ohio baseball players of the year Nick Northcut (2017-18, Mason), Michael Kirian (2016-17, New Riegel), Chris Machamer (2015-16, Massillon Washington), and Ryan Feltner (2014-15, Walsh Jesuit) on the state’s list of former winners.