DRUMMOND, Okla. — Only two things have changed about Seth Gray in the last year.
His statistical performance and where he will be playing baseball next year.
Everything else, however, remains very much the same, including Gray winning the 2019 Enid News & Eagle’s All-Northwest Oklahoma baseball Player of the Year award based on voting by area coaches.
Gray far surpassed his already-high junior season numbers.
At the plate, Gray finished his senior season with a team-high .535 batting average, .677 on-base percentage and a .990 slugging percentage. He led the Bulldogs in hits (54), doubles (16) and triples (6) and hit six home runs and 25 singles.
On the mound, Gray had a 5-0 record through nine appearances for Drummond. He allowed five runs off 11 hits through more than 26 innings and struck out 40 batters.
Gray was named to the Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association All-State, Skeltur All-Conference Player of the Year, OBCA All-Star and the Northwest Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association Small School Player of the Year.
When he received the All-NW Oklahoma award last year, Gray said he and the Drummond Bulldogs would be “out for blood” in their pursuit of the program’s first Class B state championship. But the Bulldogs’ 2019 campaign (35-7) ended with their second-straight spring state championship loss, this time to Roff in an 11-7 defeat.
This past fall, after winning 31 consecutive games, the Bulldogs also lost in the fall state championship to Roff, as well, 8-3.
“If we didn’t win it and we had three chances, maybe we weren’t really supposed to win it,” Gray said. “Maybe we’re all supposed to get a lesson out of it. It’s tough. I know it’s tough to even try to get a lesson out of it.”
But Gray takes a lesson from Drummond’s defeat all the same.
“I just think … you can’t hang your head,” he said. “It’s hard not to … Anyone that knows Drummond and our team, we just need to be more proud than anyone ever should be coming out of Drummond because we got three runner-ups and had a great run.”
Gray graduated from Drummond this past spring and will attend Eastern Oklahoma State College, a Division I junior college program roughly four hours east of Drummond. His brother Wyatt will be joining him.
Gray credited Drummond head coach Jared Swart with teaching not only how to play the game, but to let his play speak for itself.
“He taught me how to play the game with respect, which I’ll carry into the next level of baseball and life,” Gray said.
Gray has moved on from his pursuit of a state championship. But now he’s out for blood once again as he prepares for the NJCAA Division I competition, where the competition is bigger, faster and stronger.
The physicality of the next level isn’t intimidating to Gray, though.
“We’re all playing against a ball,” he said. “That’s literally all it is. It comes down to skill. You can be fast and be strong, but it all comes down to mental toughness.”
The former Bulldog said he draws his mental toughness from his own self-confidence.
“It starts out with having the confidence,” Gray said. “Once you have confidence, then you go in the field and show your confidence, and that can get in peoples’ head.”