Gordon shortstop not hamstrung by injured hamstring
If it looks like he’s dogging it, he’s not.
He’s tough. Really tough. And too good to keep out of the lineup with a pulled left hamstring, especially now with so much on the line.
It’s the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, and Gordon (Ga.) College shortstop Grant Massey says his running speed is about 50 percent of what it should be, but aside from a lack of straight-line speed, his value to the Highlanders has been on full display.
He’s hitting and fielding and leading as the Highlanders are the last unbeaten team among the four remaining teams at the World Series. Gordon College improved to 3-0 with a 9-7 victory Wednesday night over San Jacinto (Texas) College-North.
“I’m fine in the field, but on the bases I’m a little crippled,” said Massey who pulled the hamstring in the district final between second and third bases as he legged out a triple in the third inning.
He finished that nine-inning game and hasn’t missed any time in three games in Grand Junction.
On an infield hit Wednesday night, he had just enough speed, and determination, to beat it out.
“Right after the hit I was like, ‘Crap!’ I knew I was going to have to beat it out,” Massey said. “I got lucky, he missed the ball. Yeah, it sucks going down first-base line. That’s probably the worst one. Cuts don’t really hurt because it’s lateral muscles.”
Highlanders coach Travis McClanahan said Massey’s contributions despite the injury reflect his toughness.
“I think it definitely says that about him,” McClanahan said. “He’s a kid that loves baseball. He’s a baseball player. We’re just protecting him a bit.
“I’ve been real strict with him not running hard on the bases because that seems to be where it bothers him more. And that way he can still range in the infield.”
He ranged, all right, on a San Jacinto ground ball up the middle to start the fourth inning. Massey went to his left, snared the ball bare-handed and threw to first base for the out.
“Wow! Wow! It’s a great play, and it’s not surprising to us,” he said.
Well, Massey actually was a little surprised.
“That was just a pure reaction,” he said. “Sometimes the grass will kick back on you, and that’s just what happened. I was going to glove it, but it just kind of kicked back on my right hand, and I just kind of Ozzie Smithed it right there. I got lucky on it.
“I had no intentions of going that bare-handed. It just kind of came up in my hand, ‘Oh, I’ve got a baseball.’ “
At the plate, he has consistently delivered, too, for a team that has torn the cover off the ball all tourney.
Massey, batting ninth, is 4 for 8 with five runs, one double, four RBI and six walks. In the field, he has one error, six putouts and 12 assists.
McClanahan said he will continue to dial back running expectations for Massey to keep him healthy enough to keep doing what he’s been doing.
“I know it’s bothering Grant,” McClanahan said, “because he’s hard-nosed baseball player, plays really hard. And I know some people maybe look at him like a guy that’s not a hustler, and that’s absolutely not the truth. He’s a hustle guy, big-time.”