Murf Mania: Gray’s two-homer night locks down Wareham’s 7-3 win over Y-D


Murf Gray keeps things simple. He doesn’t let his emotions get too high or too low, he doesn’t think too much (or too little) and just focuses on what he can control.

Even his swing that produced a 436-foot home run that came off the bat at 104 miles per hour was simple. The solo shot itself was a no-doubter off the bat — anything but simple — but the swing wasn’t necessarily anything special or different.

It was as impactful as a swing could be, though, as it gave the Wareham Gatemen an extra insurance run in the eighth inning of their matchup against the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Largely thanks to Gray, the Gatemen walked off the field with a 7-3 victory and the best record in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

“It was just simple bat-on-ball, made good contact,” Wareham manager Ryan Smyth said. “He keeps it at the simplest form.”

Gray’s ability to stay even-keeled was crucial in Wareham’s Sunday evening victory, as the third baseman hit into two groundouts and struck out swinging in his first three at-bats of the game. He was coming off arguably his most dynamic game with the Gatemen, in which he hit the game-winning home run against the Brewster Whitecaps, and obviously wanted to keep that momentum rolling. For some players, going 0-for-3 might have sealed the deal for a less significant game. Not for Gray.

His start to the game was quickly nullified, however, as he hit two home runs in two at-bats to close out his evening; Gray was responsible for the final three Gatemen runs with a two-run shot to right field in the seventh inning and his solo home run in the eighth. You would have never known he wasn’t making solid contact all night.

“(He can) lock right back in and you never know what’s going to happen,” Smyth said about Gray’s mentality. “Obviously the last couple of nights, now we do know.”

Sometimes, though, even Gray doesn’t know what’s going to happen when he goes up to the plate. He knows what he would like to happen, of course, but usually it’s just anything that will help his team. The individual accolades and accomplishments are far from the forefront of his mind.

“Holding myself accountable to do a team job always keeps me simple,” Gray explained. “I’m not trying to hit a five-run home run or a 10-run home run because that’s not possible. So I’m really just trying to stay simple with a team approach, and I know the guys behind me have my back no matter what happens during my at-bat.”

Of course, it never hurts to have a guy who can hit 400-foot home runs on your side. Power isn’t all Gray brings to the Gatemen, however — not even close. Since starting on Opening Day with Wareham, the Fresno State third baseman has been one of the players who is never afraid to take a risk or try something new and has proven to be one of the most consistent players on the team in all facets of the game. His first stolen base of his collegiate baseball career came in Wareham’s second game of the season, he’s played in all but three games this summer and is just as consistent in the dugout as he is in the hot corner.

Hailing all the way from California, Gray came into the season on the quieter side. Playing in the Cape was something he’d always dreamed of, as most ballplayers do, and sometimes the pressure to perform can be overwhelming at first. But as he’s adjusted to the game and the new environment, Gray has come out of his shell and become almost a perfect encapsulation of the kind of player Smyth wants on his team.

“He’s an awesome kid, an awesome teammate,” Smyth said. “He’s been a guy that’s been supporting everybody, top to bottom, from Day 1. It’s just really cool to watch and sit in the dugout and hear the conversations that go on where they’re all just picking each other’s brains.”

Gray, a rising junior, fits right in the center of the team; he has enough experience to lend to the younger players around him but can also learn from the slightly more experienced ones. The Gatemen are a squad full of players from all different backgrounds with varying perspectives on a multitude of things, meaning they can all learn at least one thing from someone else.

There’s one thing they all have in common, though: they want to win baseball games and they want to have fun doing so.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted my teams out here to do,” Smyth said. “It looks like our guys are just playing stickball in the backyard, and we’re just really competitive and we don’t want to lose those games.”

While stickball games can very well yield the same kinds of home runs and bat flips Gray had Sunday night, they don’t typically carry the same weight as a CCBL victory. With Sunday’s win, the Gatemen took hold of the best record in the league at 13-5-1 while also taking down the best pitching staff in the league, putting up seven runs on 11 hits. They clicked on every level, from offense to defense to dugout cheers, and they won. Simple as that.

Murf Gray, Bobby Boser and Jace Rinehart celebrate after Gray's home run during Wareham's 7-3 win over the Y-D Red Sox, July 7 2024, at Red Wilson Field. Photo by Keegan Maloney.

Top photo caption: Murf Gray hits a home run in Wareham's 7-3 win over the Y-D Red Sox, July 7, 2024, at Red Wilson Field. Photo by Keegan Maloney.