The DC Grays come into the 2023 season with high hopes to improve on last season’s 15-21 campaign – good for sixth place in the Ripken League. The biggest change for the season will come on the Grays coaching staff. The 2023 Grays will feature a new top man in the dugout, as Maurice Bankston takes over for longtime Grays manager Reggie Terry. Terry lead the Grays from 2015-2022, compiling a 108-159 record.
Bankston spent the 2023 spring season as a volunteer Director of Player Development for Georgetown University. His responsibilities included on-campus recruiting in accordance with NCAA rules, practice and competition preparation and analytics/data collection.
Prior to his work for the Hoyas, he eight years as a high school pitching coach for St. Albans School in Washington DC, leading the team to a state title and a pair of conference championships. With the Bulldogs, he guided 16 players to the collegiate level.
Bankston had a storied playing career. He was chosen in the eighth round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft by the Pirates out of Texarkana Junior College and remains the highest draft pick selected out of the NJCAA program. With the Bulldogs in 2007, the soon-to-be Pittsburgh prospect put forth a 7-4 record with a 3.99 ERA in 13 starts across 70.0 innings of work. The fireballer also earned an all-conference selection with Texarkana in 2007. The Arkansas native played six professional seasons, five of which with the Pittsburgh Pirates and one in the Independent League with the Gateway Grizzlies. In his time within the Pirates' organization, the former hurler picked up 10 career wins and 130 strikeouts in 213.2 innings of action.
In addition to a new manager, the Grays will have two new assistant coaches. Justin Gomez joins the staff this summer as an assistant coach. In the spring, he is the assistant coach for Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Darrion Smith is another new Grays assistant. Smith is an assistant coach with Xavier University of Louisiana, and prior to that he was a graduate assistant at Georgetown University.
Not everything on the coaching staff has changed, however. Our own Mr. DC Baseball, the great Jimmy Williams, returns for his tenth season on the Grays staff. A familiar site in the first base coaching box and behind the cage during batting practice, Williams is a longtime local coach with Prince George’s County Community College.
“I like this coaching staff,” said Grays President Mike Barbera. “It’s a great blend of youth and experience. I can’t wait to see how they work with the players.”
While the DC Grays coaching staff will be largely new, the Grays 2023 roster will have a more familiar feel. The Grays bring back the highest number of returning players the program has ever had. Nine players will be returning from the 2022 team including three 2022 Ripken League All Stars - RHP Jake Davidson (Kenyon), RHP Kai Cummings (Cabrini), and the Grays 2022 leading hitter INF Henry Zipay (Nebraska/Omaha). Other returning players include LHP Sam Stratton (Wofford), RHP/OF Diego Barrett (Potomac State), RHP Caleb Causey (Mississippi Valley State), 1B/OF Aaron Thomas (Wofford), INF Patrick Vandenberg (Lafayette), and C Mike Mallas (Lafayette).
“I am excited to see this roster take the field in 2023.” said Grays General Manager Chris Spera. “Each of the nine returners were significant contributors last summer, and we expect big things from them again this season. In addition, we are bringing highly skilled new players in from our core collegiate programs, as well as from some new programs. Most of these players had starting roles with their college teams.”
In addition to the returning pitchers, the 2023 pitching staff will include Kenny Michaels (Wofford), Lucky Perroto (Catholic), Jake Roberti (Louisburg), Elliot Eaton (Princeton), Ryan Wheeler (Alvernia), Zac Dart (BYU), Justin Mentzell (Indian Hills), Eddie Kaftan (Mitchell), Kyle Tyler (Valparaiso), Adam Fischer (William & Mary) and Kimani Davis (Xavier/La.).
Infielders new for 2023 include Myles Sargeant (Maine), Joe Marini (Catholic), Evan Bouldin (Delaware St.), Connor Larson (Wofford), Braeden Mondeau (BYU), and Miles Newsome (Brown).
Outfielders new for this season include Luke Anderson (BYU), Kaleb Willis (Lafayette), Derrick Mayes (Md/Eastern Shore), Cole Kumpf (Wagner), and Justin Grech (Lafayette).
The catchers group, in addition to the returner Mallas, includes Steve Thomas (Catholic) and Parker Goff (BYU).
Spera added, “Many of these young men had outstanding spring seasons. To mention just a few, Myles Sargeant from Maine was a regular starter and one of the top hitters on the first place team in the America East conference. Luke Anderson from BYU hit well over .300 all year as a starting OF for the Cougars and teammate Parker Goff started about half of their games at catcher and hit well over .300 in the tough West Coast Conference. Eddie Kaftan leads the NCAA tournament-bound Mitchell Mariners with seven wins. I am looking forward to seeing how the success these players are having in their spring collegiate seasons will transfer over to the Grays.”