Gray of­fers a ray of hope

Fremantle Gazette - - SPORT -

HE may still be get­ting his head around a coun­try where base­ball is not the na­tional pas­time, but Tris­tan Gray cer­tainly does not feel like a fish out of wa­ter.

The Hous­ton-born bat­ter, who is con­tracted to Ma­jor League Base­ball out­fit Tampa Bay Rays, has been one of the many bright spots for the Perth Heat as they chase their first ti­tle since 2015.

Com­ing from a coun­try where base­ball is king to a coun­try where it is very much a mi­nor sport can cer­tainly present hur­dles for Aus­tralian Base­ball League im­ports such as Gray.

Yet the 22-year-old, who has played for mi­nor league sides West Vir­ginia Black Bears and Char­lotte Stone Crabs, said he was ad­just­ing well to life in Aus­tralia.

“I haven’t played base­ball in De­cem­ber be­fore in my life; play­ing all these games is some­thing I def­i­nitely had to get used to, but it’s been great so far,” he said.

“Get­ting used to driv­ing and just liv­ing over here prob­a­bly was the big­gest part. The base­ball was the eas­ier thing about it all.

“I’ve never done any­thing like this be­fore. See­ing a whole other cul­ture has def­i­nitely been eye­open­ing, but I’ve loved it so far.”

He put the ease of ad­just­ment down to his team­mates, who he said helped him set­tle in and had pointed out Perth’s best spots.

Gray cur­rently sits fourth in the league for runs (26), is equal sixth in home runs (an equal-team best six) and fourth among Heat bat­ters for hits (34) to help them sit atop of the South-West Con­fer­ence with two se­ries to play.

Talk has un­der­stand­ably turned to po­ten­tial post-sea­son suc­cess.

“We’re ex­pect­ing to win; we don’t go a day with­out talk­ing about get­ting there and just pre­par­ing our­selves for those play­off games,” he said.

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