CHICAGO (June 3, 2022) — In its 37th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade today announced Tristan Smith of Boiling Springs High School is the 2021-22 Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Player of the Year. Smith is the first Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Boiling Springs High School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Smith as South Carolina’s best high school baseball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award to be announced in June, Smith joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo High School, Mich.), Jon Lester (2001-02, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Wash.), David Price (2003-04, Blackman High School, Tenn.), Clayton Kershaw (2005-06, Highland Park High School, Texas), Rick Porcello (2006-2007, Seaton Hall Preparatory School, N.J.) and Kris Bryant (2009-10, Bonanza High School, Nev.).
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior left-handed pitcher and outfielder posted a 6-1 record with a 0.54 ERA and 120 strikeouts against just 22 walks in 51.2 innings this past season, leading the Bulldogs to the Class AAAAA quarterfinals. The state’s top prospect in the Class of 2022 as rated by both Perfect Game and the Prep Baseball Report, Smith is also the nation’s No. 10 prospect according to Baseball America. At the plate, he batted .337 with 28 RBI and 17 runs scored, compiling an OPS of 1.056. He was a 2021 Perfect Game All-American Game invitee and a member of the 2021 Team USA 18U National Team.
An active participant in the Boiling Springs First Baptist Church student ministry, Smith has volunteered locally at homeless shelters and in association with multiple community cleanup initiatives in addition to donating his time to holiday toy-collection drives. “Tristan Smith has been blessed with a lightning bolt for an arm,” said Boiling Springs High School head coach Jeff Lipscomb. “He is literally unhittable in high school baseball. He’s a very talented player.”
Smith has maintained a 3.45 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at Clemson University this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in July’s Major League Baseball draft.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport.
Smith joins recent Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Players of the Year Will Taylor (2020-21, Dutch Fork High School), Caden Grice (2019-20, Riverside High School), Trotter Harlan (2018-19, Hillcrest High School), and Geoffrey Gilbert (2017-18, Bishop England High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
Gatorade has a long-standing history of serving athlete communities and understands how sports instill valuable lifelong skills on and off the field. Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” platform, Smith has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national organization of their choosing that helps young athletes realize the benefits of playing sports. Smith is also eligible to submit a short video explaining why the organization they chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $3.5 million across more than 1,300 organizations.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.