The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Gatorade awards three area pitchers with Player of the Year awards

Stone Bridge RHP JB Bukauskas is one of three area pitchers to win Gatorade Player of the Year award (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

As the state of Virginia wraps up its final conference tournaments, three area players earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors Tuesday.

Stone Bridge RHP JB Bukauskas (Virginia), Reservoir RHP Cody Morris (Maryland) and St. John’s RHP/SS AJ Lee (Washington, DC) were given the award for standout performances this season.

Bukauskas has led the Bulldogs to a 19-1 record, and he hasgone 7-0 on the mound with a 0.00 ERA. With a blistering fastball that has touched 100 mph and a nasty slider, he has posted 88 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings pitched. Bukuaskas plans to enroll at North Carolina in June. He is the first area player to win the award in the state of Virginia since Hayfield SS/OF/RHP Jeremy Cleveland in 2000. 

“I was pretty pumped when I found out,” Bukauskas said. “It made me feel really good. All the hard work I put in and all the time people have invested in on my journey has paid off.”

He was set to bat in the seventh spot in Tuesday’s Conference 14 championship against Freedom-South Riding, but because of rain and lightning in Ashburn the game was postponed to Wednesday at 6 p.m. It would have been his first time in the batting order since his freshman season.

Lee finished his junior campaign with a Washington Catholic Conference Athletic title and the D.C. State Athletic Association title. He split time at shortstop and pitcher, hitting an astounding .470 with a .671 slugging percentage, 20 RBI and 15 stolen bases. On the mound, he went 3-2 with a 1.14 ERA and 41 strikeouts. Lee is orally committed to Maryland.

Morris threw a two-hit shutout Saturday in the Maryland 3A state championship game to lead the Gators to their first state title. Morris is regularly in the lower 90s with his fastball and a 2013 All-Met selection. He went 8-1 with 89 strikeouts.

The South Carolina oral commit is the first area athlete to win award in state of Maryland since Austin Neary (Spalding) in 2011.

Related: Bukauskas is flying up MLB draft boards with 100 mph fastball

Bukauskas tells MLB teams he won’t sign