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Three-time Player of the Year Gray reflects on Greenwood softball career


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 Greenwood pitcher Brittany Gray works through the second inning against Franklin Central.  Greenwood vs Franklin Central girls softball sectionals (Saba) Monday, May 26, 2014, in Franklin, Indiana. STAFF PHOTO BY JOE SABA
Greenwood pitcher Brittany Gray works through the second inning against Franklin Central. Greenwood vs Franklin Central girls softball sectionals (Saba) Monday, May 26, 2014, in Franklin, Indiana. STAFF PHOTO BY JOE SABA


All that’s left to do now that Brittany Gray’s high school softball career is over is stand back and admire the numbers.

Statistically speaking, the Greenwood Community High School senior delivered what can best be described as a high-arcing, tape-measure home run.

The kind where the opposing left-fielder doesn’t so much as look up.

Selected as the Daily Journal’s Player of the Year for a third consecutive season, Gray’s final 27 games in a Woodmen uniform produced a .397 batting average, six home runs, 19 RBI and a team-high 18 walks.

Gray also dominated as a pitcher, posting an 11-1 record with a hardly visible earned-run average of 0.44. Working a total of 79⅔ innings, the soon-to-be University of Georgia pitcher-first baseman struck out 114 and walked only 11.

Of the 43 hits Gray allowed, only seven were of the extra-base variety. None was a home run.

It’s been quite the journey, all right, one the senior admits moved along at a much quicker pace than what her 104-game varsity career might otherwise insist.

“I knew as a freshman that I wanted to do big things, but I wasn’t sure if I could. I didn’t know how well I would adjust to different pitching and different teammates. Everyone was older than me,” Gray said.

“Everyone told me my freshman year that my high school career would go fast, and I was like, ‘No way. I still have three years left.’ But it definitely went fast.”

Greenwood is coming off a 22-5 season that ended with a 4-2 sectional loss to Franklin Central on May 26.

From Gray’s first high school at-bat to her last, the Woodmen posted an overall mark of 86-18 (.827) and were 43-5 against Mid-State Conference programs.

Individually, her 34 career home runs — including 14 as a sophomore — promise to stand the test of time in the Greenwood record books.

As a pitcher, she logged a total of 416⅔ innings for a career won-loss record of 53-10.

Yet with all Gray accomplished, these perhaps are her most eye-widening career numbers: 493 pitching strikeouts compared with only 92 walks. Despite pitching with the occasional arm soreness this season, her strikeout-to-walk ratio was a little more than 10 to 1.

At the plate, it was Gray’s patience and maturity that most impressed her coach.

“Brittany’s presence. Her demeanor. Her leadership. She knew people were going to pitch around her, and there were times it was difficult for her. But Brittany is a team player,” second-year Greenwood coach Stephanie Senac said. “She is one of those rare kids who has the heart and dedication coaches dream about.

“Brittany just wanted to practice and wanted to play her heart out every single pitch.”

Bridging the gap between Gray’s final cuts as a Woodmen and her first as a Georgia Bulldog is a summer schedule of travel fast-pitch softball with the Beverly Bandits, a team based in Illinois.

Already Gray is batting .340 when it comes to states visited (17 of 50), the majority stemming from her softball travels through the years.

The list promises to grow at UGA, where 14th-year coach Lu Harris-Champer’s program makes its standard visits to play against Southeastern Conference opposition.

Gray departs for college in August. But before she’s officially going, going, gone, she fondly looks back at what was, in her opinion, her finest few months of high school softball.

“This year was my best year because our team bond was unbelievable,” Gray said. “We had one little argument at the beginning of the season and never had another one.”

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