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On a night when most sports fans were glued to the Major League All-Star Game in Cleveland, a pair of high school stars from the diamond received top honors in Los Angeles.
MaxPreps National Baseball Player of the Year Bobby Witt Jr.
and softball standout Kelley Lynch
were awarded the 2018-19 Gatorade Male and Female Athletes of the Year Tuesday at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey, Calif.
The pair each beat out five other Athletes of the Year in other sports to win the overall award. This was Gatorade's 17th annual event.
Both athletes made short, but gracious acceptance speeches, thanking their parents, teammates, God and Gatorade. Each also recognized fellow individual sport Athletes of the Year.
"Also, thank God for what he has given me," Witt Jr. said.
The son of former MLB pitcher Bobby Witt Sr. hit .482 with 15 home runs, 65 runs, 14 doubles, nine triples and 55 RBI for
Colleyville Heritage (Colleyville, Texas)
, which won the Texas 5A state title. He was the No. 2 overall player selected in the MLB Draft, going to the Kansas City Royals.
"It still feels like a dream," Witt Jr. told MaxPreps host and correspondent Myckena Guerrero. "Ever since I was little, watching baseball and knowing what my dad did, to play professional baseball, this is what I want to do and now I have this opportunity. It's truly surreal. It hasn't all sunk in yet. It's amazing. "
What exactly did he learn from his father?
"He instilled in me all the hard work and try to be better each day," he said. "And be yourself. ... He told me not to look at it like a job. I mean, it is a job, but it's a kids game and you have to have fun with it."
He might not ever have as much fun as he did his senior season, helping his squad to a state title. Witt Jr. loves where he's going, but knows he can never go back.
"I definitely have a bond with all those guys," Witt Jr. said. "Walking the halls with those guys. Going to class with them. Go to practice with them. Going through that grind together. We won a state championship this year so we went out with a bang."
Lynch went 17-0 with a 0.27 ERA for East Coweta (Sharpsburg, Ga.)
and also batted .436. She led her team to a 32-2 record. She's headed to the University of Washington.
"I wish I could put all your (teammates) names on this award," she said after received the trophy.
Lynch told Guerrero that her inspiration for softball came from her mom and sister, especially after her father passed away six years ago.
"I started playing soccer because of her (sister)," Lynch said. "She's been really inspiring, especially after my father passed away. He was our first coach. To see her keep playing and going through it, living through him with softball, was very motivating for me."
The other Athletes of the Year.