CHICAGO (May 23, 2019) — In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Trotter Harlan of Hillcrest High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Player of the Year. Harlan is the first Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Hillcrest 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 Harlan 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 May, Harlan 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 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior shortstop and right-handed pitcher batted .565 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI and a .604 on-base percentage, leading the Rams (19-7) to a berth in the Class AAAAA district finals this past season. A two-time First Team All-State honoree and 2019 South Carolina Baseball Coaches Association Player of the Year, Harlan also produced a 4-3 record on the mound with three saves and a 1.76 ERA while striking out 53 batters in 47.2 innings pitched. He stole 29 bases without being caught in 2019.
Harlan has volunteered locally on behalf of a literacy-outreach program at the Rudolph Gordon Elementary School and as a youth baseball coach. “Trotter Harlan was the heart and soul of our team,” said Hillcrest head coach Dale Nelson. “He’s a tireless worker who always put himself ahead of the team. He put together an incredible senior year and yet he remained the same quiet player who leads by example. He always plays the game at full speed regardless of the score.”
Harlan has maintained a weighted 4.53 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the College of Charleston beginning this fall.
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. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Harlan joins recent Gatorade South Carolina Baseball Players of the Year Geoffrey Gilbert (2017-18, Bishop England High School), Logan Chapman (2016-17, Easley High School), Thomas Jones (2015-16, Laurens District High School), Jake Crawford (2014-15, Belton-Honea Path High School), and Grant Holmes (2013-14, Conway High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Harlan also has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
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.