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Prep baseball: Cottonwood’s Tevita Gerber is The Tribune’s Most Valuable Player

First Published      Last Updated Jul 07 2015 10:39 pm


Prep baseball » Gerber’s focus on honing his skills paid off with a superlative year.

Murray • Cottonwood pitcher Tevita Gerber's life is meticulously organized, consisting of baseball, school and more baseball. Little time is allotted for social interaction, but occasionally he'll escape to the campus parking lot for a game of Frisbee or football — a sport he gave up playing competitively to focus on baseball.

He was the captain of the Colts' cavalry — a title earned through sacrifice, from hours of bunkering down in the team facility, searching for any edge he could find, rather than partying on the weekend.

"I've never coached anybody like him," said Cottonwood coach Jason Crawford. "He was always texting and calling me, 'Hey, what can I do? Is there anything else?' From Day 1, he took leadership of our team. He really did everything he possibly could. … If there is one guy you'd build your team around, to me, it would be him."



His statistics are undeniable, his leadership and influence on the Cottonwood program are unquestioned, and now, as Gerber is honored as the All-Tribune MVP — denoting the best player in the state of Utah — he is officially unmatched.

"It means a lot. I'm not really one for individual awards, but now that the season is over, and I'm able to achieve this award, it shows how much work I've put into everything," Gerber said. "It shows what everyone has [instilled] in me, coming up through high school. I'm really humbled to receive it."

Entering his senior season, after announcing his presence with a seven-win junior campaign, Gerber trained his mind with positivity and confidence. He convinced himself of his ability to defeat any opponent on any stage, spurring an advantage each game before he even threw a single pitch.

"I had the bulldog mentality," Gerber says. "I'm going to go out, and nobody is going to beat me."

The hard-throwing left-hander, whose fastball topped out at 89 miles per hour, guided the Colts to the Class 5A semifinals, posting an overall 10-1 record. He fanned 112 of the 239 batters he faced, while posting a minuscule 0.97 ERA after allowing 26 hits the entire season.

Gerber recorded seven shutout victories — tied for the highest single-season total in state history. He never surrendered a single home run, and he didn't allow a single hit against Alta and Hillcrest — hi two no-hitters are tied for the second-most in one season.

"He's got a plus change-up, he's got two different breaking balls," Crawford explained. "Then his fastball command was better than I've ever seen it. He was down in the zone and his balls got late life. There were a lot of guys who swung over the top of it."

Gerber's growth at the plate might be even more impressive, however. After relinquishing his position to designated hitters in the batter order during his first three seasons, the four-year starter hit .402, with 22 hits, seven doubles, one triple, one home run, and drove in 16 runs.

"I was in the cage trying to get better, but I never got my shot," Gerber said. "That kind of made me more hungry coming into this year. I wanted to prove that I could be that guy."

Gerber not only excelled on the diamond, but also carried a cumulative 3.86 GPA in the classroom. He plans on studying sport medicine, with an emphasis in physical rehabilitation, while playing collegiately at UNLV next season.

"I feel like sports can only last so long. You have to have an education — you can't play baseball until the day you die," Gerber expressed. "Knowledge is power. Everything in this world, you have to be smart. You have to produce for yourself."

Twitter: @trevorphibbs

 

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