Third consecutive Baylor player wins Mr. Baseball award

Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Baylor junior Tomas Valincius pitches in the Division II-AA state quarterfinals against Knoxville Catholic on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

Once again the Baylor School baseball program is home to the best player in Division II-AA.

Tomas Valincius became the Red Raiders third consecutive Mr. Baseball Award winner on Tuesday as he was earned the award selected by the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association at the Family Worhship Center Church in Murfreesboro.

Valincius follows Baylor alumni Henry Godbout (2022) and Cooper Kinney ('21) in winning the prestigous award.

Other local standouts Turner Junkins (Silverdale Baptist), Payton Armour (Meigs County) and Kolton Casson (Polk County) were finalists for the award in their respective classifications.

"To continue the tradition of Baylor players winning this award feels great," Valincius said. "I couldn't have done this without my teammates. I would rather be going to win a state championship right now, but I am glad I could do what I did this year to help my team. All of the hard work we put in from the first day of school is starting to pay off."

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound southpaw, a Virginia commitment, posted a 7-1 record with a 0.73 ERA over 38 innings, allowing 15 hits and four earned runs while striking out 59 batters.

Valincius was equally as impressive at the plate with 24 of his 34 hits going for extra bases, including 14 doubles and 10 home runs. He led the Red Raiders with 43 RBIs and hit .466 with 18 walks compared to 12 strikeouts.

The Chicago native is also a member of Lithuania's national baseball team along with his older brother Vytas, who starred on Baylor's 2021 state championship run.

"Last year he had an arm injury and did not throw hardly any at all," said Baylor coach Mike Kinney. "Going into this season we didn't really have a No. 1 starter. He was a surprise to us and the scouts. So many great things happened for him this season and it has been fun to celebrate with him along the way."

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