Senior Spotlight: After lights-out junior year, South Park pitcher Brenden Gray excited to head to Seton Hill

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020 | 4:43 PM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

As the South Park Eagles entered the playoffs last year, they had two of the hottest pitchers in the WPIAL.

Kevin Vaupel, who is now playing collegiate ball at Seton Hill, was lights out, and right next to him was Brenden Gray. The right-hander went 5-1 in six starts and produced a 0.49 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 42⅔ innings.

“It was great. We definitely had the chance to go far,” Gray said.

The pair led the Eagles into the playoffs and in a first-round victory over Quaker Valley. While Vaupel started the game for South Park, Gray finished it, both on the mound and at the plate. Facing an 0-2 count with a runner on first, Gray hit a home run that gave the Eagles the lead for good.

“That was crazy,” Gray said. “It was the first home run that I’d ever hit, and it felt amazing.”

After a season like that, in which Gray was named to the All-Section team, he was excited for one more opportunity with his teammates, especially after the offseason he had. But the coronavirus pandemic brought an end to that.

“I’ve been training with PVS baseball and from last year to this year, we’ve been using this machine that measures your velocity and RPMs and my RPMs went up about 400 from last year,” Gray said. “So, I had a lot more spin on the ball and it made my fastball look like it had a lot more life on it. That definitely would’ve helped this season.”

Despite missing his senior season, Gray will still be able to play baseball in the future. He committed to Seton Hill last August and will now have the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.

“I’ve always been working towards playing somewhere in college,” Gray said.

What’s your favorite memory while playing baseball for South Park?

It was definitely the home run I hit in the playoffs

Who is the one hitter you want to face?

I’d want to pitch against my uncle. His name is Zach Gray. He played at Allegheny.

How’d you start playing baseball?

My dad and my grandfather both played baseball, and they kind of just passed it down to me.

If you could change positions where would you play?

Catcher.

What’s a day during quarantine look like?

Wake up around 9, eat, lift every other day, throw every day, and I do a lot of arm stuff to keep my arm healthy. I’m also trying to eat like six times a day because I’m trying to gain a little weight. I’ve recently started to hang out with some friends too.

What’s your favorite sports memory as a fan?

Probably the blackout playoff game in Pittsburgh.

What made you want to choose Seton Hill?

It was just the team, the way they go about things there. They are all about winning there. Coach (Marc) Marizzaldi has a great system up there going for him.

Do you know what your major will be?

Computer science

If you could switch places with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Max Scherzer

If you could choose anyone to give the commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

Morgan Freeman

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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