Times All-Star Baseball Team: Gavin Grahovac is Player of the Year

A reliable way to project a future big leaguer is how he handles adversity in high school. Everyone knows how good Villa Park junior Gavin Grahovac is at home plate. Then there’s the maturity he showed at the end of the game.

Villa Park were one momentum away from qualifying for the Southern Section Division 1 Championship game. San Juan Capistrano JSerra decided not to let Grahovac have a chance. He was intentionally walked around to charge the bases in the bottom of the seventh. Then came a strikeout from the next batter, completing the 4-1 loss.

Thereafter, instead of throwing a bat, making excuses or hiding in the dugout, Grahovac stood there calmly and confidently answering questions and preparing for his next game when it came. His resilience and maturity, combined with his exceptional skills, will make him Southern California’s top baseball prospect for 2023.

“Things didn’t go as planned but we had a great season and I’m proud of all our players,” he said.

JSerra’s coach, Brett Kay, called him “the best player on the planet”. It might not be that, but he’s had quite the season and is the Times Baseball Player of the Year.

At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Grahovac is a strong, athletic shortstop and one of the toughest outs of the entire season. “He’s got all the tools and is playing hard and he’s very competitive,” coach Burt Call said.

Grahovac hit .376 with 47 hits, 24 RBIs, 17 doubles, three triples and five homers. He signed up for Texas A&M.

Grahovac’s father, Mike, is an assistant coach for the Spartans and a former head coach for Orange Lutheran. Grahovac grew up swinging the bat in his family home until his mother advised him to go outside lest things end up breaking, such as vases, furniture and televisions.

“Offensively, he can hit for power and hit for average,” Call said. “He’s a special player.”

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