TAMPA – When the selection committee sorts through the candidates for the annual Wade Boggs Award, a baseball player's grade point average is just as important as his batting average. His work in the community is just as important as knowing how to drop a bunt.
The Wade Boggs Award, awarded after every high school baseball season since 2005, rewards excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
And this year's winner, King outfielder Sinjin Sato, set the bar high for future recipients.
"I was very surprised," Sato said. "There are a lot of other great student athletes in Hillsborough County."
Sato, a four-year starter for the Lions, received the award at Wednesday morning's Hillsborough County Commissioners meeting in downtown Tampa.
He graduated from King’s International Baccalaureate Program last week with a 6.72 weighted grade point average. Sato was a National Merit Finalist, earned the Advanced Placement Scholar Award of Distinction and was a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and principal’s honor roll.
Sato, who was born in Los Angeles and moved to Tampa when he was 1, will return there to attend the University of Southern California in the fall, and has already been accepted to USC's prestigious Marshall School for Business.
"I have a lot of family out there and it's a good school," Sato said. "I grew up following Trojans sports ever since I was a little kid.
On the field, Sato hit .350 with 4 doubles, 15 runs, 13 walks, 7 stolen bases and a .449 on-base percentage for the Class 5A-9 district champs=.
Sato also volunteers at the Feeding America Food Bank and Metropolitan Ministries. He has participated in Relay For Life the past three years, including serving as a captain this year.
Plant pitcher Tanner Anderson, a Harvard recruit with a 6.64 GPA, and Durant pitcher Emilio Ogando, who has signed with St. Thomas University and owned a 5.52 GPA, received honorable mention recognition.
The Wade Boggs Award, which is named for and awarded by Tampa native and Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, was picked by an eight-person selection committee that included Tampa City Council Chair Charlie Miranda, Saladino Tournament founder Tony Saladino Jr., Alonso athletic director K.R. Lombardia, King baseball coach Jim Macaluso and former Cambridge baseball coach Rick Shears.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (email@example.com; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)
(Photo: 2011 Wade Boggs Award winner King outfielder Sinjin Sato (center with trophy) with (left to right) his father Frank Sato, King principal Carla Bruning, King assistant baseball coach Nelson Menendez, King head baseball coach Jim Macaluso and Sinjin's mother, Grace Sato.