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Landon Gray returns to Coyote baseball

The late singer/songwriter Harry Chapin once wrote, “You can travel on 10,000 miles and still stay where you are.”

12 grayWell, it might not be quite that many miles, but Weatherford College Coyotes catcher Landon Gray has certainly had a busy past few months – and now he’s back in a Coyotes uniform for one more season.

“WC is the best opportunity financially and athletically for myself and my family,” the Granbury High product said. “This team is going to do really well, and I would like to say there’s some unfinished business and we look forward to getting it done.”

After helping the Coyotes come within one round of reaching the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I World Series last season, Gray had a whirlwind summer.

First, he was taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 38th round of the Major League Baseball Free Agent Draft. After pondering what to do and seeking advice from others, he opted to forego turning professional for now.

“The draft was a tough decision,” he said. “Now isn’t the time to jump on that opportunity.”

He did, however, make a major decision to play at the highest level of college ball – once his time at Weatherford College is over of course. Gray signed to play for the University of Tennessee Volunteers in the Southeast Conference his junior and senior seasons.

“I went up to Tennessee on a visit and immediately felt at home with the people and beautiful weather,” he said. “I plan on studying business analytics at Tennessee because I have a passion for the major and more specifically the job opportunity.”

Of course, Gray still has the option of turning pro as he will likely be drafted again following his sophomore season.

As a freshman, Gray batted .344 with 50 runs batted in, seven home runs and 45 runs scored. He was named second-team All-North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference.
Gray also excelled academically in his first year of college. He was named third-team Academic All-American.

In the meantime, Gray plans to help the Coyotes once again chase, and hopefully achieve, the elusive goal of reaching the NJCAA World Series. He would also like to see if he can increase his draft stock in the process, along with helping bring more members of his beloved Granbury Pirates to the WC roster.

Last season Gray played with former Pirate outfielder Payton Rhodes, who is now at Lubbock Christian University as a sophomore. This season, Gray will be joined by two more former Granbury standouts, outfielder Chance Turney and pitcher/infielder Matthew Hickey.

“Each kid who has come from Granbury has really busted their butt to get the next level,” Gray said. “Chance and Matthew are focused and working really hard, and I think they both have a bright future.

“I plan on bettering myself as a player but more as a young man. Really staying focused and understanding what I’m here to achieve is a big focal point this year. It would be awesome for a better opportunity to come up during the draft, but I have no expectations other than to continue to work and have fun with the guys here at WC.”

by Rick Mauch