Maurer earns Gatorade award

Matt Maurer is the third Southern Oregon prep athlete this school year to receive a prestigious Gatorade state award that combines athletic achievement with academics and community service.

Maurer, a North Medford High junior, was recently selected as the Gatorade Oregon baseball player of the year.

Elliott Jantzer of Phoenix and E.J. Singler of South Medford were honored with the same award for cross country and basketball, respectively.

"Obviously Matt is one of those kids with special athletic talent," North Medford baseball coach Brett Wolfe says. "Matt is also very well grounded. He knows what is important. He makes the right choices on and off the field. Combining those human qualities with his physical ability, you get a very special person."

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound left-handed pitcher helped North Medford (20-5) reach the second-round of the Class 6A state playoffs. Maurer tossed a no-hitter on Tuesday, but the Black Tornado suffered a season-ending 1-0 loss against Tualatin.

Maurer's effort in that crucial game demonstrates his strong competitive nature.

"Matt pitched through some adversity this season," says Wolfe. "He learned to make adjustments. But he was at his peak performance in the playoffs on Tuesday."

Maurer posted an 8-2 record with a 1.29 ERA and struck out 101 in 70 innings this season. He also excelled in football and basketball for the Black Tornado.

Maurer carries a 3.98 grade-point average taking all honors and advance-placement classes.

Despite being a high achiever, Maurer, Wolfe says, is also just a "regular teenager."

"He likes to have fun and interact with the other kids," says Wolfe. "He's a leader by example. He does it the right way — with his performance."

Maurer's goal is to attend Stanford University and study something in a math-related area — possibly engineering.

"Really all my life is school and sports," says Maurer. "School is my main priority. I'm a social person. I love every aspect of going to school."

Maurer volunteers as part of North Medford's "buddy program." On Thursdays, he goes to Lincoln Elementary and mentors second graders both academically and emotionally. He also teaches pitching to younger kids.

"I think giving back to the community is a big thing," says Maurer, who is now a candidate for the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award.

Reach reporter Frank Silow at 776-4480, or e-mail fsilow@mailtribune.com

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