BALTIMORE, Md.—Ruth’s Baseball Ideals (RBI) Baseball Club pitcher and middle infielder Jahlin Jean-Baptiste became the second consecutive RBI club pitcher to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for RBI’s Maryland AAU Baseball wood bat league in the past two years, accepting the honor at the 2015 Maryland AAU All Sports Annual Banquet on November 8.
The award was named this year the Charles “Chuck” A. Slaughter, Sr., MVP Award after the beloved late coach and head groundskeeper of the Broadneck Baseball and Softball Club who passed away last year.
Jean-Baptiste kept his team, the resurgent RBI Rats, relevant with his exploits throughout the year and ultimately all the way to the 2015 Maryland AAU 19U Fall Wood Bat State Championship.
It was great receiving the AAU 2015 league MVP award,” said Jean-Baptiste, “especially since I was 16 years old at the beginning of the season and playing in a competitive 19U and up division. It is a great honor.”
While Jean-Baptiste was the second RBI pitcher to receive the MVP award, Tony McGuire was the previous pitcher to be the MVP in 2014. Both played for the RBI Rats coached by John Pineau. Billy Albaugh, of the Maryland RBI select-travel advanced skills development team, won the honors in 2013.
“My main pitches are a fastball, change up, a curveball, and I am currently working on a sinker,” Jahlin said. “I am looking into studying computer science in college and minoring in sports medicine. I intend on playing baseball at the collegiate level.”
Fellow baseball honorees, coaches and parents repeated “MVP” as Jean-Baptiste walked to the stage to receive his AAU Outstanding Player trophy.
A highlight of the year for Jahlin, Dematha Catholic High School Class of 2016, was his selection to play in the Negro Baseball Leagues Hall of Fame East-West Vintage Game at Bowie Baysox Stadium in August. The game was played by former Major League Baseball, collegiate and Maryland AAU Baseball players and coaches dressed in vintage attire representing the diversity of players—African-Americans, Hispanics, Cubans, Dominicans and Caucasians—who played the sport in the early 1900s.
“He couldn’t have had a better year,” said RBI Rats coach John Pineau. “We’re very proud, very proud indeed. Getting to play in the Negro Baseball Leagues Hall of Fame Game was something he’ll never forget and I know I will cherish that moment the rest of my life — it was truly a beautiful thing.”
Another obvious highlight for Jean-Baptiste’s season was a no-hitter he threw on July 18 in a 4-0 Rats win over Southern at Riva Park. He had 9 strikeouts. Of the no-hitter, Pineau said, “He pitched the best game of his young life.”
The 5-9, 150-pound senior’s profile rose throughout the season, especially in big games. “He’s worked hard and he’s put in the time and the effort and he’s been a humble player the whole time through it all,” Pineau said.
As cool and calm as he comes across, Jean-Baptiste is business on the field. Pineau said, “He does his best under pressure. Anyone who has seen him play can attest to that. He’s a team player when he could easily be a selfish one.”
Pineau, who is also director of AAU Baseball’s Potomac Valley and Maryland Districts and the president of Ruth’s Baseball Ideals (RBI) youth baseball club and league, noted, “To receive MVP is obviously a huge honor. Jahlin role models the RBI student-athlete and had a fantastic year. He’s a special kid and any college would be fortunate to have him as a player.”
The “Chuck” Slaughter MVP award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. RBI Baseball administers the districtwide selection process in collaboration with AAU member teams.
“We are all excited for him,” Pineau said. “It is impossible to overestimate the impact a true ace can have on a team. They’re just so important.”
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