Coke's Grayson throws no-hitter
By By Brian Craig Robinson / special to The Star
June 12, 2002
While Major League Baseball is threatened by talks of a strike and or the loss of two teams after this season, summer league baseball is alive and well in Meridian. With only 60 pitches thrown and four strikeouts, diminutive Clay Grayson stood larger than life on Monday night, facing the minimum numbers of batters while pitching the first Meridian Dixie Pre-Majors no-hitter in recent history, as the first-place Coke baseball team was victorious, 7-0. Grayson calmly painted the corners and mixed speeds the entire night leaving Sprite (second place in the league) baffled and confused the entire evening.
While being on of the smaller players on his team, Grayson had the heart of a lion Monday night. Grayson was hit hard by a line drive in the second inning, but luckily was saved by a slick-fielding Marcus Boyd at third with a fantastic, one handed pick up and put out. Then, only a half inning later, Sprite's hard throwing right-hander promptly plunked Grayson in the leg. Many pitchers would have asked to be replaced, but Grayson was not to be denied.
To start the top of the third, Grayson mentioned of having two extremely sore legs, but said he was okay to continue. Not only was he okay, he was completely dominant, retiring the last 18 Sprite batters in a row, with the exception of one walk ( immediately erased after attempting to steal). Coaches and parents alike agreed that they had not seen such a performance, at this level, in many years.
While Grayson and on-lookers clearly had a night they will not soon forget, Grayson will probably not realize, for many years, how special his performance was. Pitching a no-hitter is an accomplishment that has eluded many pitchers, including big leaguers for their entire career. Already, shortly after the game, Grayson seemed focused on his next challenge: looking for a summer job. " I'll be by in the morning coach", Grayson said as he walked off the field, referring to placing a job application with his coach's employer.
So, after a night when many professional pitchers ice their arms and think back to when baseball was much simpler, back to the good ole' days when the only care was playing the game between the lines, a game void of labor disputes and contract negotiations, Clay Grayson was busy creating his memories, and many years from now when Grayson reflects on the good ole' days, and realizes what a special evening it was on a muggy, dusty, baseball field in Meridian, whether he be in a baseball uniform or a three-piece suit, it is almost certain that he'll reflect on one of the good ole' days when he was not just good, he was great.