In its 36th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, Gatorade Tuesday announced Max Clark of Franklin Community as its 2020-21 Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year. Clark is the first Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Franklin.

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 Clark as Indiana’s best high school baseball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award to be announced in July, Clark 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, 185-pound sophomore outfielder and left-handed pitcher posted a .450 batting average with six home runs, 34 runs scored and 30 RBIs this past season, leading the Grizzly Cubs to a 20-9 record and a berth in the Class 3A sectional semifinals.

The nation’s No. 2 draft prospect in the Class of 2023 as ranked by Prep Baseball Report, Clark also compiled a 6-0 record on the mound with a 0.84 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 50 innings.

A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Clark has volunteered locally on behalf of his church youth group and donated his time as a youth baseball coach.

“Max Clark is a five-tool player who can impact any game in many ways,” said Franklin head coach Ryan Feyeabend. “In all my years of coaching, I have only seen one or two kids that have the skill set he has and they were all two years older than he is now.”

Clark has maintained a 4.01 GPA in the classroom. He has made a verbal commitment to play baseball on scholarship at Vanderbilt University beginning in the fall of 2023.

Clark joins recent Gatorade Indiana Baseball Players of the Year Ryan Lynch (2019-20, Penn High School), Michael Doolin (2018-19, Andrean High School), Nicholas Schnell (2017-18, Roncalli High School) and Garrett Schoenle (2016-17, Northrop High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.