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Male athlete of the year: Daniel Gibbins, Evergreen, baseball

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By Michael Hicks

It wasn’t until halfway through his senior season that Daniel Gibbins started to take notice of his numbers. The Evergreen High baseball player looked at them and saw the potential for something good.
Weeks later, he just happened to run into interim head coach Dale Hutchings in school one day when Hutchings shook his hand and congratulated him. Gibbins had been named the 4A Jeffco League MVP.
“I wasn’t prepared for it. It was a little out of the blue,” Gibbins said.
His numbers said otherwise as Gibbins has also been named the 2013-14 Canyon Courier Male Athlete of the Year.
It wasn’t the season that Gibbins expected to have. He figured it would be Josh Bellatti who would knock the ball over the yard — and Bellatti did — but not quite to the tune that Gibbins did. Gibbins led Evergreen with a .470 batting average, seven home runs, 13 extra-base hits and 31 hits. He and Bellatti tied for the team lead in runs (24) and RBIs (22).
The Cougars, who finished 18-5, including 12-2 in the 4A Jeffco League, en route to a district tourney title and a berth in the eight-team 4A state double-elimination field, also had a dominant force on the mound in Brock Burke. He went 5-1 in eight appearances, with a 1.05 earned-run average and 79 strikeouts. But Gibbins was the everyday catalyst for the Cougars.
“After last year I changed a few things with my swing, changed a few things with my approach,” Gibbins said. “I used to be that lefty who would hit the ball through the shortstop and take a single. Then I became a power guy all of a sudden, and that got my confidence up there to swing the bat, and it turned out real well for me.”
No moment exemplified the season Gibbins had more than his walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh of a 3-2 win over rival Conifer on April 15. Lobos starter Clay Wagenhals had baffled him all day with curve balls and change-ups before Gibbins got a hold of a 1-2 fastball.
“That’s the stuff of dreams,” said Gibbins, who will attend Longview Metropolitan Community College just outside of Kansas City, Mo., in the fall.