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Max Clark and Ava Brown are honored as the best high school players of the year

Baseball player Max Clark is interviewed by Taylor Rooks, left, after being named best male player of the year Tuesday night at the annual awards for high school athletes, Tuesday, July 11, 2023, in Los Angeles. At right is Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Max Clark, newly drafted by the Detroit Tigers, and softball player Ava Brown were honored as the best male and female players of the year Tuesday night at the annual Gatorade awards for high school athletes.

Clark batted .646 with six home runs, 33 RBIs and 45 runs scored for Franklin (Indiana) Community High this past season.

The senior center fielder hit .646 with six home runs, 33 RBI and 45 runs scored this past season. Clark was selected third overall in last week’s major league draft, although he has signed a national letter of intent to play at Vanderbilt this fall.

“Taking home this award is a huge moment in my career,” Clark said. “The list of past winners speaks for itself; there are so many legends who have achieved great things on and off the field, so I’m honored to have my name next to theirs.”

Clark had a 3.97 GPA. He launched an online campaign that raised over $13,000 in honor of Illinois prep baseball player Ryan Jefferson, who died in 2021.

Brown, a senior pitcher from Montgomery, Texas, led Lake Creek High to a 44-1 record and a second straight Conference 5A state title this past season. She hit .462 with nine homers, 17 doubles and 65 RBIs. On the mound, the right-hander struck out 292 and walked just 30 in 172 innings.

She finished her career with an 81-0 record and 844 strikeouts.

“It’s a testament to not only my work on the field, but also what I’ve done in the classroom and in my community,” Brown said. “Seeing my name on the trophy alongside a list of so many legends means everything to me.”

Brown, who had a 3.55 GPA, signed a national letter of intent to play at Florida this fall.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum and Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks presented the awards in a ceremony at Nya Studios in Hollywood.

The other male finalists, their sports and home states: Jackson Arnold, football, Texas; Issam Asinga, track and field, Florida; Cameron Boozer, basketball, Florida; Ransford Gyan, soccer, New Jersey; and Daniel Simmons, cross country, Utah.

The other female finalists were Kennedy Fuller, soccer, Texas; Harper Murray, volleyball, Michigan; Angelina Napoleon, track and field, New York; Irene Riggs, cross country, West Virginia; and Juju Watkins, basketball, California.