Gray readies for Fresno State Bulldogs
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South baseball standout Murf Gray (sitting) signs his National Letter of Intent to play baseball next year at Fresno State in the Madera South gym last November while surrounded by his family.
For years, the Madera baseball community knew greatness was coming from a kid simply known as, “Murf.”
No one really calls him by his given name. In fact, he doesn’t respond to it, unless it’s being yelled to him by his mother.
When Tristan “Murf” Gray graduated from Madera South High School, he became part of history by leading the Stallions to its first-ever Central Section baseball championship, and did it with his friends by his side.
“I feel like it’s been great,” Gray said. “I had a lot of fun and was able to play with my friends. We completed a goal that we wanted since our freshman year. We got our rings.”
Gray had been getting talked to about transferring to this school or that school, but he always wanted to play with his friends.
“I’ve been getting talked to about transferring since my eighth grade year to play with strong teams,” he said. “I think this team is pretty strong because it’s all guys I knew and trusted. It means the world to win with my guys. We’ve been winning championships since I was 8 with the Colts. To do this as seniors in high school is amazing.”
Gray signed his National Letter of Intent and will play baseball next year right down the road for the Fresno State Bulldogs.
“The pressure off is a little bit more now,” he said during an interview in June. “The season is over and I can focus on going to Fresno State, but I’m a little nervous.”
Gray led the Stallions to the Div. IV title. He pitched four innings in the game to get the win in the championship game. He tossed the first three innings, came out for an inning and finished out the fourth to secure a 5-3 victory.
“That Junior year playoff game goes out the window. Now, we feel amazing,” he said.
The Stallions’ season ended the next week against eventual NorCal Champions, Bradshaw Christian-Sacramento.
“That was icing to play the next week,” he said. “We were focused on Valley. Once we did that, I felt like we were drained and tired from winning valley. We went into the next game a little drained. It was a real big drop-off. We were a little off track in the Valley game. I felt like we competed with Bradshaw. We had opportunities that we missed. That Valley game was high energy and we dropped off after that.”
Now, Gray will shift his focus to Fresno State where he plans to major in kinesiology after recording a 3.45 grade point average at Madera South.
“If that does work out the way I want, I may go into communications. I want to do physical therapy,” he said.
Gray has had experience with kinesiology with the many ailments he had to go through, beginning with a knee injury his freshman season.
This season, he had a number of ailments, including his prized right arm.
“My hamstring was beat up, my arm and wrist was hurt,” he said. “My wrist and hamstring came back strong. The arm fell off a little bit. I hurt the back of my arm. I have to get it checked out to see how long I can sit out before I throw again.”
The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft was held this week and one of Gray’s dreams is to hear his name get announced, but he wants to play college baseball, first.
“After that, I want to get drafted,” he said.
There aren’t many things for Gray to work on, but he says he needs to get bigger and faster while gaining more speed.
“That’s something I can definitely work on,” Gray said.
Gray is a two-time All-Madera Tribune Baseball Most Valuable Player, a two-time All-County/Metro Athletic Conference first-team selection and was also a recipient of The Madera Tribune’s Sportsmanship Award.
“I’m pretty proud of my reputation,” he said. “My parents pushed me so hard to build a good character for myself to be that one person they hear about and know. I want to continue to be good, but I want to be great one day.”
For Gray, the build-up has come and the results have shown. Now, he hopes to continue on his baseball legacy at Fresno State.
“It was an amazing four years,” he said. “School was tough, at first. It finished off pretty strong. Baseball was really fun.”