Jesuit shortstop/pitcher Lance McCullers has been named one of eight finalists for this year's Jackie Robinson Award, annually given to the top rising senior high school player in the country.
If McCullers, ranked the nation's No. 1 2012 draft prospect by Perfect Game, wins the award, he will become the second player from Hillsborough County to earn the honor in the past four years. Former Plant standout and current Orioles farmhand Mychal Givens received the award in 2008.
The Jackie Robinson Award, presented in conjunction with Sunday's Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego, will be awarded on Saturday evening. The award is presented to the player who exhibits outstanding character, leadership, is involved in his community and embodies the values of being a student-athlete.
McCullers will also play in Sunday's game for the East squad.
McCullers, the Times' All-Suncoast Pitcher of the Year, guided Jesuit to its second straight Class 4A state final last spring. He hit .422 with seven homers and 24 RBIs while pitching to a 2.02 ERA and striking out 79 in 52 innings.
The other finalists for the award are Las Vegas Bishop Gorman IF/RHP Joey Gallo, Dayton (Ohio) Butler RHP Taylore Cherry, Santa Monica (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake RHP Lucas Giolito, Spring (Texas) Collins IF C.J. Hinojosa, Marietta (Ga.) Pope RHP Duane Underwood, LaMarque (Texas) Ball OF Nick Williams and Santa Clarita (Calif.) Valencia IF Trey Williams.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)