James Gray helped the 12U Raiders make the GSA Stars and Stripes Slugfest VI championship last weekend.
The Plant City Raiders 12U baseball team competed in last weekend’s GSA Stars and Stripes Slugfest VI tournament and made it to the championship game, and James Gray’s play at the plate and on the mound was a big part of that. Gray hit four home runs in three games and also pitched well in the semifinal game to help his team get to the championship round. He’ll soon join his teammates on a trip to Cooperstown to play in the annual Dreams Park tournament.
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What was the experience like for you?
It was really cool hitting four home runs. I didn’t really expect it. I came out there and it just happened.
You’re going to Cooperstown for the first time soon but a bunch of guys you’ve played with have been before. What have they told you about the tourney up there?
My friend on the team, Josh Machado, he goes with his older brothers a lot. He says it’s pretty cool and sometimes it gets real cold.
What are you most looking forward to about the Cooperstown tourney?
I’m looking forward to just playing up there. It’s gonna be my last time, so I’m excited to play and be with my friends.
You’ll be moving up to the big fields full-time pretty soon. What are you most looking forward to about that?
Going to the big fields, I feel like you’re not going to be able to stand out as much. But I feel like it’s gonna be easier to hit with it being a farther range to throw the ball. It’s going to be nice, but it’s going to be different.
What’s your favorite thing about the game?
Being with my friends, and I just love playing the game. I love pitching, hitting, all that.
Which positions do you play, besides pitching?
I play first and third base, the corners, occasionally right field, left field and catcher.
Which is your favorite?
Pitcher because you have control over the game and it’s in your hands.
You said you weren’t expecting to play as well as you did at Stars and Stripes. Did you do anything differently than usual before those games?
I ate a bacon, egg and cheese croissant from Burger King before two of the games. I’m not superstitious at all, I don’t really do anything before games.
What made you want to stay with baseball after you started playing it?
I started playing tee-ball and I don’t even remember how I did in my first game. My parents know. I just wanted to keep playing the game. I don’t know why, but I thought it was cool.
Who’s your favorite athlete?
Are there any college or big league pitchers out there that you try to play like when you go out there on the mound?
Not really. I do my own thing, really.
What’s one of the best things a coach has told you?
Always stick with it because when it gets hard, you know you’re learning something. You never lose, you just learn from stuff.