Norco student 'baseball player of year'

NORCO, Calif. Matt Hobgood, who led the /*Norco High School Cougars*/ to a 25-5 record and the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals, is the second student from Riverside County to win player of the year honors.

Last year, Kyle Skipworth of Patriot High School in Riverside, was named the 2007-2008 Player of the Year. Skipworth is now a catching prospect for the major league Florida Marlins.

The Gatorade award recognizes outstanding athletic and academic excellence. Hobgood was selected by a national advisory board of sportswriters and sports experts among some 478,000 high school baseball players.

Hobgood is expected to play baseball at Cal State University, Fullerton, in the fall. He's also likely to be an early round pick in this month's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

"We've had a lot of good athletes at this school, but we've never had someone who can change the outcome of a game the way Hobgood can," said Norco High Baseball Coach Gary Parcell. "He can go out there on any given day and strike out 12 batters and then turn around and hit a three-run homer to win the game. He's just such an incredible athlete, especially for a guy his size."

Holbgood showed his prowess on the pitching mound and at the plate this season. He compiled an 11-1 record, a 0.92 ERA and 101 strikeouts this spring. He also batted .475 with 21 home runs and 55 RBIs.

CNS contributed to this report

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