July 16, 2019 | by: Cheyenne Brown; @cheytv_
WASHINGTON, DC – – A nucleus is defined in the dictionary as “the central part or the core of parts that that been grouped or gathered.”
To DC Grays’ head coach Reggie Terry, his players from BYU form the nucleus of his squads every summer. The Grays are members of the elite Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.
“These boys have been a staple nucleus to the team,” head coach Terry said. “They [BYU] have sent us All-Star players, players that have been drafted to the MLB, and players with very credible reputations.”
From dominating in their positions to leading in team and league statistics, these players have become an essential part of the Grays. In previous years, BYU players for the Grays have made Ripken League all-star teams, been named All-League players, and have been drafted by MLB.
Coming from a small Mormon college like Brigham Young University to the nation’s capital can be quite an adjustment for BYU ballplayers.
“Guys come play for us because they want to play against top players, and they want to experience baseball in a different environment than they are used to,” said Chris Spera, a vice president of DC Grays Baseball who works with the BYU coaching staff on which players will come to DC each summer.
Like any other team, the Grays look for players who will be able to produce, who are passionate, who are leaders, and players who not only have potential but players who are coachable. The players sent by BYU possess all of these qualities.
Spera says that with these core teams “you know the quality of the player they are sending, and you know when the coach speaks on what the player can do for the team, that there is some certainty that it is going to be accurate.”
This year the DC Grays has four players from BYU: sophomore infielder Austin Deming, sophomore catcher Josh Cowden, sophomore infielder Bryan Call, and sophomore right-handed pitcher Reid McLaughlin.
These players have very impressive resumes:McLaughlin earned West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team honors in his freshman season at BYU. He was the first player in BYU history to have at least seven wins and four saves in a single season.
These players have very impressive resumes.
McLaughlin earned West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team honors in his freshman season at BYU. He was the first player in BYU history to have at least seven wins and four saves in a single season.
At BYU Call started in 16 of the 24 games he played in. He was a designated hitter with nine hits, nine runs and 10 RBI. For the Grays, Call does his job, Terry says he is consistent a player and is very good at second base and at the plate.
Deming serves as a two-way player for DC. He is able to close games on the mound and he also plays first base and hits in the middle of the lineup. His play earned him a spot on the DC/VA team for this year’s Ripken League All-Star game.
This will be Cowden’s first season as a BYU Cougar as he transferred from Salt Lake Community College. He is excellent behind the plate, and is improving with the bat. “His bat is starting to heat up,” Terry said.
The Grays built these relationships to know that they can rely on these programs to send them promising players each year. The core programs for the Grays are schools like BYU, Eastern Kentucky, Wofford, and Lafayette. They make up about 40 to 50 percent of the Gray’s roster, alleviating some of the work that comes with the recruiting process.
A lot of these core programs began from grapevine relations. The BYU relationship began six years ago, with the Grays’ VP of Operations, Chris Spera’s business partner, Spencer Kimball. Kimball played basketball in college with the recruiting coordinator for baseball at Brigham Young, Brent Hering, and he introduced the two.
BYU wanted to start sending their players to the east coast for a chance to experience not only baseball but life outside of the west coast. The Grays is the most diverse team, some of their players have ever played on.
“Coming to play for this team was definitely a culture shock. I am so used to all my teammates being from the same area as me. Playing for the Grays you have a team of guys who from all over the country,” McLaughlin said.
As seasons continue the Grays hope to continue their strong relationship with BYU.