Hattiesburg baseball set for national tournament

Hattiesburg baseball set for national tournament

With a talented senior class and national ranking (13th by Perfect Game), Hattiesburg High baseball entered the 2018 season with high expectations. The Tigers will get a chance to compete against some of the nation's best squads next week in Cary, North Carolina at the National High School Invitational.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Some of the programs invited to the tournament include nationally ranked Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran and American Heritage. The Tigers will face second ranked Calvary Christian on Wednesday.

"It's going to be real big for us," Tigers senior outfielder Kameron Wells said. "Most people say that we're (senior class) the reason why scouts are here so as soon as we get to that tournament, (the) young guys, they've been put on a big platform that will help them out a lot and get them noticed and seen."

One Tigers player who doesn't need to concern himself with getting exposure is senior center fielder Joe Gray (signed with Ole Miss signee).

"What I'm looking forward to the most is being able to have our team go up there and play against that top type of competition so it will make us play to a higher bar and we be able to come back that next week and get back into district play and hopefully just roll on through it. That will spark something for us to come back and be on the road to state.

"And secondly man, I'm going to actually get pitched to. Those arms up there at the NHSI tournament, they're not scared. They're top prospects too. They're going to come at me and that's what I want to see. I don't get to see that here. So I'll be able to get there and I'll have a bit of a different approach to attack fast balls and get something I actually want to hit."

Even though he's signed with Ole Miss, Gray could start his pro career early with the draft approaching in June. Not surprisingly, he does receive questions regarding his future on the diamond. But, he's maintained his poise.

"Really it's simple man," Gray said. "I just fish. Whenever that starts to clicking in my head too much I usually just go out and I fish man or I'm in the cage somewhere. Those are just my ways and places to kind of just clear my mind out of everything. Or I go back home to Bassfield where my dad was raised. He's pretty much raised me up. It's a lot of freedom out there. Just open fields. So I just relate back to anything that I can to where I can just clear my head out about all that. It gets stressful sometimes especially being an eighteen year old, seventeen year old kid in your senior year knowing how big of an opportunity it is on both sides."

The Tigers are 11-3 on the year.

"Our coaches are pumped," Wells said. "Everyone is pumped. We have the talented group that everyone sees. I feel like we can really get it done this year."