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Plant City Observer Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 8 months ago

Athlete of the Week: T.J. Gayner

Gayner pitched a perfect game for Plant City last week.
by: Justin Kline Sports/Associate Editor

Plant City’s Feb. 20 game against Hillsborough was highlighted by T.J. Gayner’s perfect performance: 18 batters up, 18 batters down. The senior’s pitching led the Raiders to a 17-0 win in six innings in their 2018 season opener. Gayner is expected to be a key piece in the team’s pitching rotation.

Know someone who deserves an Athlete of the Week feature? Email Justin Kline at [email protected] by the Friday before the next issue.


What are your goals for the season?

To win districts, make a run in regionals, make it all the way to states and, hopefully, win a championship.


What about personal goals?

I just want to finish with maybe one loss, or none.


How long have you been playing?

Since I was 5 years old. I’m 18.


What first got you into the game?

My uncles, because they played baseball. It just came to me. 


Is this the only sport you’ve played?

I used to play basketball my freshman and sophomore year. After that I got more focused with baseball and made it my primary sport.


What is it about baseball that made you want to stick with it full-time?

Just hearing different things about it. Watching it on TV. I just gained a lot more interest in it and I decided to go along with it.


What other positions do you play?

I play outfield as well. I played every other position as well, as I grew up, but now I just pitch and play outfield.


Which do you prefer?

I mean, there’s some parts where I like (pitching) a lot more than the outfield but, then again, I love both the same amount.


Any sport you’ve never tried before but would if you could?

Golf. I actually would give that a try if I could.


How far do you hope to take the game?

Professional leagues. All the way.


Which team would you want to play for?

Miami Marlins. I’ve always loved the city of Miami and I’ve always wanted to play for them.


What’s been your favorite moment with this team?

Really, it’s just being around all the guys. Every time I’m with them, there’s always a fun moment.


What should someone should know about getting on the pitcher’s mound and finding their confidence like you did?

Go up with confidence and do not worry. Do not let the umpire dictate your game — you control it. It’s all based off of you.

Justin Kline is the Sports/Associate Editor at the Plant City Observer. He has been covering all things sports-related in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World since 2013.

See All Articles by Justin

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