H■ By Mary Ann Morris / Editor
eads up baseball fans…the Hemet Sportsman’s Club has been evaluating the top local high school baseball players in the San Jacinto Valley and has narrowed the roster down to seven deserving nominees. The club will announce which talented teen will earn top honors at the 4th annual Bill Gray Baseball Player of the Year award ceremony June 3 at the Hidden Hacienda in Hemet.
The club’s committee watched each of the seven schools play several times. After much evaluation and discussion, the following players were named as finalists:
Felix Nunez – Hamilton High School
Danny Gomez – Hemet High School
Matthew Romo – Noli Indian School
Fabian Correa – San Jacinto High School
Nehemiah Valencia – San Jacinto Valley Academy
Caleb Farmer – Tahquitz High School
Steven Silvas – West Valley High School
The Hemet Sportsman’s Club is a local service club supporting amateur athletics in the San Jacinto Valley. The award is named after Bill Gray, an icon in Southern California baseball who founded the Bill Gray Baseball School in Hemet, which was free of charge to everyone and operated for 30 years. The school had 150 students each Saturday at the ball field located at his home.
Not only was Gray a baseball fanatic, he scouted for the Los Angeles Dodgers, umpired college and high school baseball, and coached local summer teams. He developed big league players, managers and umpires and he was deeply involved in the growth and development of the Hemet Youth baseball program.
Among numerous awards, he was recognized by Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District with the naming of Bill Gray Park on Lake Street and Charlton Avenue in Hemet. While operating the baseball school, Hemet High School won the CIF Baseball Championship three times: in 1963, 1966, and 1974. Two former students of his school were honored as the CIF Player of the Year, Bill Gray, Jr. and Bob Frazier.
The award will be presented June 3 at a dinner banquet to be held at the Hidden Hacienda located at 42174 Little Lake Road in Hemet. A social hour will begin at 6 p.m., with food being served and the banquet beginning about 6:30. Additional tickets to the banquet are $20 and can be purchased at the door.