Joe Davidson

The Bee's Baseball Player of the Year was ‘phenomenal’ on and off the field

Evan Gibbons of Franklin High School cheers on his team against Davis High School. The Sac State commit started the season with a 15-strikeout perfect game and also has a win over top-ranked Elk Grove. He's a team leader and a leader on campus.
Evan Gibbons of Franklin High School cheers on his team against Davis High School. The Sac State commit started the season with a 15-strikeout perfect game and also has a win over top-ranked Elk Grove. He's a team leader and a leader on campus. hamezcua@sacbee.com

What a way to roll out a senior year.

Evan Gibbons was revered on the Franklin High School campus for his leadership and academic prowess as a 4.0 student for all four years, no easy feat considering the rigorous academic standing in the Elk Grove Unified School District.

In baseball, Gibbons started the season with emphatic flair, striking out 15 in tossing the first perfect game in program history in beating eventual Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion Vacaville, 2-0.

Gibbons set scores of school records, including career strikeouts, and he was at the forefront of perhaps the best team in school history, one that charged into the postseason as the No. 1 seed after tying for the Delta League championship, the best league in the section.

Now Gibbons can add Bee Player of the Year accolades to his pedigree, having led the 23-8 Wildcats with a 7-2 pitching record and with a .389 batting average, including eight doubles, six triples, 26 RBIs and 24 runs. He learned of the news from comfortable setting – the beaches of Cabo San Lucas during a family vacation.

"Having a little fun out here," Gibbons said with a laugh. "I was ready to have a great senior year, a great year, and it happened. We meshed really well as a team. We played well. We didn't win the section championship but we accomplished a lot, and I'm happy for the season we had and the season I had."

Gibbons belongs on the program's "Mount Rushmore" of greats, coaches Bryan Kilby and Mike Cody said, in reference to his playing ability and class.

"Evan can impact a game in so many ways, on offense or defense, and he's a leader," Kilby said. "The season he had on the mound was phenomenal. Just a phenomenal year in general. Everything he does off the field is spectacular as well. We hear about it every day on campus. He just does things the right way."

Gibbons is off to Sacramento State, where coach Reggie Christiansen will look at him as an infielder and pitcher.

"I'm ready to do anything they need," Gibbons said. "I'll take a break from baseball this summer, like 45 days. I would love to pitch and hit at Sac State. I love to do both. I like to feel involved. I'll give it my all."

Gibbons started playing ball when he was 5 when he was able to swing a bat straight through the ball without sending the batting T sailing into the next yard by hitting too low.

"It's the one sport I really grew to love more than any other," Gibbons said. "I used to watch major-league guys Chase Utley and Big Papi (David Ortiz) on TV, and those talented players gave me the notion that this game is really special and how to play it the right way."

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