2017 News

Lamar Briggs headed to Sunbelt Classic

July 14, 2017

By: Josh Shelton (@JoshNLISports); DCGrays.com Press

WASHINGTON, DC – Three-year DC Grays veteran Lamar Briggs (Jackson State) is headed to his first ever Sunbelt Classic as part of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League’s best 22 players.

Briggs, who is second in the Ripken League league in batting average (.397), is headed as part of the All-Star squad to participate in the Sun Belt Collegiate Showcase on July 15-16 in Kannapolis, NC.

Briggs leads the Grays, in batting average and runs batted in (20) and is fourth on the team in extra-base hits (7).

Briggs was voted a starting outfielder in the annual Cal Ripken League All-Star game, representing the Grays along with teammate Harrison Freed (Butler).

The Sun Belt Collegiate Showcase pits all-star teams from the Ripken League, the Valley Baseball League, the Sunbelt League, the Florida Collegiate Baseball League and the Southern Collegiate League.   Games will be played at Intimidators Stadium, home of the Class A minor league Kannapolis Intimidators.

All-Stars among us

July 7, 2017

By: Josh Shelton (@JoshNLISports); DCGrays.com Press

WASHINGTON, DC – Two DC Grays players were named to the Cal Ripken Collegiate South All-Star Team on Thursday.  Outfielders Lamar Briggs (Jackson State) and Harrison Freed (Butler) will represent the Grays on Monday in Bethesda.

Briggs leads the Grays in nearly every offensive category.  He has a .388 batting average (1st), 16 RBIs (1st), two home runs (3rd), six stolen bases (2nd) and a .475 on-base percentage (1st).  His .388 batting average also puts him second in the entire Cal Ripken League.  Briggs has also stepped up as a leader on the Grays team as he competes in his third—and best—season with the Grays.

Freed, in his first season with the Grays, has emerged as an effective and timely hitter.  In 32 fewer at-bats than Briggs, Freed has 15 RBIs (2nd), nine extra-base hits (1st), including three home runs (T-1st).  His .548 slugging percentage is second only to Miles Jones (Eastern Kentucky), who was an all-star snub.

Grays fans can watch both outfielders and other great players from around the Cal Ripken League on Monday, July 10th at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Maryland.  Admission to the game is $5.

POSTPONED – Military & Veterans Appreciation Night

July 6, 2017

By: Alison Krizmanich (@alikrizmanich); DCGrays.com Press

WASHINGTON, DC – Tonight’s game against the Alexandria Aces, along with Military and Veterans Appreciation Night, has been postponed due to the inclement weather. Both the game and Military and Veterans Appreciation Night will be rescheduled, however a make-up date has not yet been announced. As they become available, details will be announced on DCGrays.com and our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Tomorrow’s game against the Gaithersburg Giants will be on as scheduled. Join us at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy as we will be hosting First Responders Appreciation Night!

Grays honoring Military and Veterans

July 5, 2017

By: DCGrays.com Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The DC Grays team and organization will host a special event honoring those who have served our country.  On Thursday night, July 6,  at the home field of the DC Grays (Nationals Youth Baseball Academy; 3675 Ely Place SE, Washington, DC 20019), the Grays will have it’s “Military and Veterans Appreciation Night” with pre-game ceremonies beggining at 6:40 pm and the game itself will start at 7:00 pm.

The team will pay homage to America’s active duty/reserve military, National Guard, and veterans by wearing special commemorative camouflage DC Grays hats during the entire game. Also, the first one hundred active duty/reserve military, National Guard, and veteran attendees to arrive at the game will receive a free DC Grays camouflage hat.

DC Grays Camouflage “Commemorative” Hat

Briggs named Offensive Player of the Week

July 3, 2017

By: DCGrays.com Press

WASHINGTON D.C. – In his third season with the DC Grays, Outfielder Lamar Briggs (Jackson State) earned his very first Ripken League honor/award being named the “Offensive Player of the Week” for week four of the 2017 Ripken League season.

Here is the League write up on Lamar’s week……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to being named player of the week, Briggs was also selected as one of the players the league will be taking with them to play in the “Southern Collegiate Showcase” on July 15-16, in Kannapolis, N.C. where several of the premier summer collegiate baseball leagues will be getting together for the Southern Collegiate Showcase. The leagues participating include the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, the Southern Collegiate Baseball League, Valley Baseball League, Sunbelt League, and Florida Collegiate.

 

Grays to host Salute to Negro Leagues

June 29, 2017

By: Alison Krizmanich (@alikrizmanich); DCGrays.com Press

WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday June 30th, the DC Grays will be hosting the Baltimore Dodgers at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. In cooperation with the Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro League Baseball and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, the DC Grays will be giving tributes to the Negro Leagues.

The DC Grays’ Salute to the Negro Leagues Night will include pre-game festivities, a ceremonial first pitch by former members of the Negro Leagues, and exhibits and memorabilia celebrating the history of Negro League Baseball. Members of the DC Grays’ RBI programs will be in attendance to help us commemorate the historic league as well.

The ceremonial first pitch for the game will be thrown out by former Negro-Leaguer and DC native, Jimmy Bland, as well as representatives from two of our outstanding sponsors, Amway and Strada Education.

In addition to the celebration of the Negro Leagues, the DC Grays staff will still hold their legendary raffle for a fan’s chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse! The Grays’ Fun Zone will also be set up for children of all ages to play games for a chance to win a DC Grays prize.

Come out to the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy this Friday, June 30th, for a great celebration of Negro League Baseball and an evening of fun for the entire family! First pitch is at 7:00 pm.

Grays spend day on Capitol Hill

June 28, 2017

By: Mike Barbera, DC Grays President

WASHINGTON, DC – The D.C. Grays may have had the day off from Ripken League action on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean the team wasn’t busy.  The Grays participated in a private tour of the US Capitol in the afternoon and were the guests at a Capitol Hill reception hosted by longtime sponsor Amway at the company’s townhouse on New Jersey Avenue.

Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), a college baseball all-star in his playing days and star of the annual Congressional Baseball Game, talked to the team about his love for the game and its impact on his life.  He took questions and posed for pictures with the Grays.

Congressman Richmond is a big supporter of the Urban Youth Baseball Academy in his congressional district in New Orleans.  He is very supportive of the Grays community efforts to support inner-city baseball in Washington DC, including the DC Grays RBI youth baseball and softball program, and the organization’ partnership with the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.

“Keep it up,” he told the Grays.  “What you are doing makes a big difference for so many kids.”

In the photo above, Congressman Richmond is on the left, next to Richard Holwill of Amway and Grays General Manager Antonio Scott.

Show host Mark Gray to throw out first pitch

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The DC Grays summer college baseball team begins it’s 2017 Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League season with a Tuesday June 6 home game against the Alexandria Aces at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy (3675 Ely Place, SE, Washington, DC).

Game time is 7:00pm, and the Grays are honored to have special guest throw out the first pitch to kick-off the new season. Mark Gray (pictured above-right), a sports talk radio host on 106.7 FM The Fan and the Heritage Sport Radio Network, will do the honors that night.

Gray has been a fan and supporter of the DC Grays for several years, and is a regular at the Grays’ annual “Cigars and Curveballs” fundraiser hosted by Thom Loverro, a Washington sports media institution and a longtime board member of DC Grays Baseball. Gray was attracted to the Grays because he supports the team’s community outreach efforts – including the Grays’ extensive youth baseball programs for kids in Wards 6, 7, and 8.

“We are honored to have Mark help open our 2017 season,” said Grays General manager Antonio Scott. “He has been a great supporter of our mission in being ambassadors for baseball in the District.”

“For a kid that played the game growing up this is a dream come true,” said Gray. “I’m down with what the DC Grays stand for and I hope to be a part of it moving forward. Hopefully, I still have 60 ft. 6 in. left in the right arm and don’t make the Not Top 10” said Gray.

Mark Gray of WJFK-FM 106.7 The Fan and the Heritage Sports Radio Network

 

The DC Grays collegiate team begins its 2017 season on Tuesday June 6th, 7PM at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy (3675 Ely Place SE, Washington, DC 20019) which is the home field for the team. This will be the Grays fourth season using the Academy as its home field – and the Academy’s location on Ely Place allows the Grays to make top-quality college baseball available to inner-city kids and their families.

The Grays also partner with Major League Baseball to operate the “Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities” (RBI) program for DC. Through the “DC Grays RBI” program, the Grays sponsor nine baseball and softball teams – primarily for kids in wards 6, 7 and 8. DC Grays RBI also offers a full “fall ball” schedule in baseball and softball as well as a winter training program.

“From the college Grays all the way down to DC Grays RBI, we are making the great game of baseball more available to more kids of all ages throughout the District,” said Scott.

Scott means business for the Grays

Saturday June 3, 2017

By: David Sibony; DCGrays.com Press

WASHINGTON D.C., Antonio Scott has been a part of the DC Grays since 2005 – first as a co-founder of the “old” DC Grays in the now-defunct Clark Griffith League and now as General Manager of the DC Grays in the Ripken League since 2012.  Antonio is in charge of all baseball operations for the Grays – and in this role he oversees the coaching staff and is primarily responsible for roster construction.  He has also taken on an additional challenge this season – to oversee a new community outreach strategy for the team to generate more attendance and enthusiasm for the team.  He sat down for an interview recently with Grays intern David Sibony.

 

Sibony:  What do the DC Grays mean to you and this community?

Scott: I’m not sure I can speak for the community – that’s one of our goals for the season… to connect the Grays more closely to the community here in Southeast. As far as me, the Grays mean the world to me! They’ve been a big part of my life for years. I guess that makes me a little crazy, but I passionately believe in what we stand for and what we want to accomplish as an organization from the college level team down to our new DC Grays RBI youth program.

Sibony: Talk to me about the RBI program?

Scott: I want people to understand that the Grays are reaching to kids from Little League age on up. Yes, the primary team in my view will always be the “Big Grays” as I like to call them, which is our summer collegiate team in the Ripken League. However, our DC Grays RBI program now gives this organization a platform to help groom and develop DC kids to become better ballplayers, get into college, and possibly play for the Big Grays someday. That is the vision.

Sibony: What is your favorite part of your job?

Scott: I love recruiting… I love connecting with the college players and coaches and putting our roster together. Then I follow them in the college season all spring. It’s exciting to anticipate what type of player we are getting in a guy and then helping him succeed at bettering his game. I have always loved analyzing stats so I assess players the best I can through paying attention to their numbers during the college season.

Sibony: What are you and the front office doing to elevate the Grays to another level?

Scott: There is a lot going on. I have to give recognition to our Board of Directors. I’ve never worked with a more dedicated group of people in my life. I mean that. Everyone has taken on specific roles – we’ve formed committees that focus on specific areas of our operation. Mike Barbera, our team president has orchestrated it all so well – and we have been able to make significant strides each year to our ultimate goal.

Sibony: There are lots of young men on this team and a few HS graduates, what’s the thought process about recruiting such a young team?

Scott: Ultimately we would love to have more upperclassmen players. As a league we compete with several other top-level summer college baseball leagues around the country. The Ripken League is viewed by professional scouts as an excellent developmental league for younger players. Our team is young because many college programs see the league as a good first summer option for a young freshman or sophomore player. They know they will face top competition and get great coaching.

Sibony: How do you feel you compare to other teams in the league on and off the field?

Scott: I myself don’t like to even compare us to any other team. Ideally I see us as a model organization. Very few summer college teams do what we do – recruiting African-American ballplayers, supporting black college baseball. There are only a handful of teams in the entire country doing that. Now we have a youth baseball program aimed at inner-city kids that is second to none. But let’s be fair – we’ve been a playoff team only once in our first five years in the Ripken League and we’re always trying to improve in the standings. I’m confident we are heading in the right direction in all areas of our organization. Our summer college team continues to improve and our DC Grays RBI program gives us a way to bring baseball and softball to kids in Wards 6, 7 and 8. That program has an extremely high ceiling of potential and we’re excited about that.

Sibony: What are some of your assessments and/or outlook for the players you have this season?

Scott: For starters I got to say that I feel that this is the deepest team we’ve had from a non-pitching standpoint ever. I feel that we will be competitive night in and night out. I’m excited about Lamar Briggs coming back for a third season with us from Jackson State. He finished as a first team all-conference player in the SWAC this year and we expect him to be a leader and very productive in the line-up. Other returning players from last year include outfielder Vinnie Catanza, and pitchers Matt Dalke and Trey Congleton. They were all solid contributors last year, and I each expect productive seasons from each of them.

Although everybody else is new to our team, there are a few players that made some big-time contributions to their college teams this spring season. That excites me to see if it will transfer over to the Grays season. We are too deep on the roster to mention all the guys, but Isaiah Kearns had a terrific freshman year at West Virginia going 5-0 as a pitcher this year in 7 starts with a 4.78 ERA. Michael Parsons also had a good freshman year at Dartmouth posting a 4.30 ERA in 13 appearances as a reliever.

I’m excited about all of our guys in all honesty. Can’t wait to see what each one of them bring to the table.

Real ambassadors for baseball in DC

May 8, 2017

By: DCGrays.com Press

WASHINGTON D.C., under a mission and vision to help develop youth baseball in the District of Columbia, the Grays organization has been dedicated to providing equipment, clinics, camps, and many other resources to youth in the city who are both under-served and come from low to moderate income levels. One of the main outreach efforts by the organization began a few years ago when Chris Spera, VP of Baseball Operations for the Grays, took a special interest in a youth team located literally a shagged fly ball away from the Nationals Youth Academy (where the DC Grays Collegiate team plays).

The Sousa Middle School baseball team became and adopted program for the organization when Spera simply did what he always does so naturally…..help out! Since the adoption the Grays have helped the Sousa team with equipment, apparel, and some training as well. The Sousa team is only one piece to the machine that the Grays organization is building in Wards 7 and 8 of the city primarily and intended to spread across town as well. These areas of the city see the least amount of youth baseball/softball programs develop but that has changed and picked up some steam the past few years due to the efforts of the Grays organization along with some community partners.

Another program growing rapidly for the organization is the fairly new DC Grays RBI youth program which is sanctioned by Major League Baseball. In just one full year the Grays RBI program consist of several 15U and 18U baseball/softball tournament teams in which the selection tryouts or “Qulaifiers” in order to select the 15-man roster for each team has an average turn out range of 50-60 players. Throughout this past winter and early spring the organization held free “Saturday Workouts” in order to help youth get ready for the spring/summer baseball season. Attendance was on average 20-25 players each week which was an excellent turn out for the workouts. This past weekend the Grays RBI program continued it’s tournament teams selection process with it’s second of three “Qualifier” tryouts.

Here is a short clip and some great images from this past weekend’s qualifier:

 

May 7, 2017 RBI Qualifier Tryout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 7, 2017 RBI Qualifier Tryout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 7, 2017 RBI Qualifier Tryout


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