In its 35th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company last week announced Noah Brewer of Rio Rancho High School as its 2019-20 Gatorade New Mexico Baseball Player of the Year.

Brewer is the first Gatorade New Mexico Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Rio Rancho High School, although the 2011 recipient, Blake Swihart, played the first two seasons of his career at RRHS, before finishing up with two seasons at Cleveland High.

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 Brewer as New Mexico’s best high school baseball player.

Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year award to be announced soon, Brewer joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Derek Jeter, Jon Lester, David Price, Clayton Kershaw, Rick Porcello and Kris Bryant.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior corner infielder graduated with a .465 career batting average, along with an OPS of 1.275. Rated as the nation’s No. 180 third baseman in the Class of 2020 by Perfect Game and No. 1 in New Mexico at his position, he entered the 2020 campaign as a Perfect Game 2020 West Region Preseason All-American Honorable Mention selection. Also in May, Brewer was named RRHS’s Male Athlete of the Year.

In his final high school season last spring, he hit .550 to lead the state in batting average. Brewer has volunteered to work at more than 25 baseball camps serving the needy and youth players in New Mexico and Texas, including the Grinders for Grace, ABA and El Paso charity events. Also a volunteer Little League instructor, he has donated his time reading to local elementary school children as part of a literacy-outreach program.

“Noah is the best on-and-off-the-field student-athlete I’ve coached in my 35 years on the job,” said Ron Murphy, RRHS head coach. “His production as a player is great, but he has always put his team first and he’s a true leader. He’s a mentor to young athletes in our program and throughout our community, he’s a leader amongst the student body and he’s never once said he was unavailable for anything to help our program.”

Brewer maintained a 3.94 weighted GPA in the classroom and signed a National Letter of Intent to play Division I baseball on scholarship at the University of Incarnate Word (San Antonio, Texas).

Brewer joins recent Gatorade New Mexico Baseball Players of the Year Chase Silseth (2018, Piedra Vista High School), Trevor Rogers (2017, Carlsbad High School), Nathaniel Garley (2016, Eldorado High School) and Jared Mang (2015, Los Alamos High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

He is the second Ram to garner Gatorade honors in the 2019-20 school year; Rams quarterback Isaiah Chavez was the state’s Football Player of the Year.

Like Swihart, now in the Texas Rangers’ organization, Murphy believes Brewer has an opportunity to turn pro.

“No doubt,” Murphy said, when asked about that possibility. “He has that work ethic; he has that drive. He got better, and he worked in the offseason, getting up at 6 a.m.”

And that’s what it takes to get to that pro level: not so much the basic talent, but the drive to get better by working hard every day.

“(Brewer) has that inner drive,” Murphy added.

Noah Brewer watches one of his three hits in his last game as a Ram, a 7-0 victory at Sandia High School on March 10.