Matt Liberatore named Arizona Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year

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Mountain Ridge pitcher Matt Liberatore is the 2018 Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Mountain Ridge pitcher Matt Liberatore is the 2018 Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Matt Liberatore has a lot to look forward to. He’s 6-foot-5, has been clocked at 95 mph and is projected to be the third overall pick in the MLB Draft.

The Mountain Ridge High School lefty also has a lot to look back on after a stellar senior season. His performance earned him Gatorade Arizona Baseball Player of the Year.

“It’s real cool and humbling to be put in that position to be talked about that way,” said Liberatore in an interview with Arizona's Family prior to the playoffs. 

Liberatore went 8-1 for the Lions with a 0.93 ERA. He struck out 104 batters in just over 60 innings pitched. One of the highlights came in a matchup at Grand Canyon University with longtime friend Nolan Gorman of Sandra Day O’Connor High School.  The two played on the same team as 5-year-olds and Nolan is also expected to be a high round draft pick next Monday.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Sports in Arizona]

“It’s been awesome. It’s been really cool to go through this with him. It gives me someone to talk to about it or not talk about it,” said Liberatore, who wasn’t allowed to pitch in the state championship against Gorman’s team because he threw 100 pitches in the semifinals. “Our relationship isn’t solely based on baseball.”

“It started when we were like 4 or 5. We were on the same tee-ball team, or coach pitch team, or whatever it was,” says Gorman, whose team won the first state title in school history. “Our parents became good friends. Playing on the same team helped. We just stayed along the whole way. We used to be with each other every day of the summer.”

Liberatore and Gorman were teammates at USA Baseball. Both are committed to play baseball at Arizona if they decide to not sign a pro contract.

The Gatorade State Player of the Year award was established in 1985 to recognize the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character. 

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