In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade joined with RISE Magazine to name senior pitcher and shortstop SONNY GRAY of SMYRNA HIGH as its 2007-08 Tennessee Baseball Player of the Year.
The 6-foot, 185-pound senior right-handed pitcher finished with a 4-0 record and a 0.79 ERA, recording 78 strikeouts in 35.1 innings this season before an ankle injury ended his season. In his absence, the Bulldogs (9-18) were eliminated from the state association postseason during the district tournament. A Preseason First Team All-American as named by Baseball America and an Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic selection, Gray, also a shortstop, produced a .518 batting average, 15 runs scored, 15 RBI and three home runs this spring.
Gray has maintained a 3.58 GPA in the classroom. A member of the Smyrna High Drama Club and the lead actor in the school's winter musical, he also donates his time to the Leaders are Readers literacy-outreach program in addition to delivering holiday baskets on behalf of Davidson County law enforcement as part of the Metro Nashville Police Christmas Charities. He also volunteers as part of multiple community-service initiatives via the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
"Sonny's a kid who really does his homework," said Smyrna assistant coach Shawn Middleton. "He's a student of the game and even though he can overpower most hitters, he doesn't want to just blow them away. He wants to figure out the best pitch to throw in every single situation. He's such a hard worker."
Gray has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Vanderbilt University this fall.