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Luke GrossJames Wood High School 18-year-old senior

Sport: Baseball. Positions: Pitcher, middle infielder

Parents: Sam and Ronda Gross

Hometown: Winchester

What do you love about baseball: Definitely I love the team aspect of it and being able to be with my guys out there every game and in practice. I love striking people out on 0-2 pitches, too. That’s pretty fun.

Most memorable moment in baseball: My sophomore year was my first year on varsity and my first time actually getting to pitch was the last inning of our first game that year against Dominion. The most memorable moment was striking out one of the guys [Cortland Lawson] on their team who was going D-1 in baseball to the University of Tennessee. He’s a really good baseball player. To strike him out was really cool.

Most embarrassing moment in baseball: A few years ago in travel ball, I was playing second base somewhere in Fredericksburg. There was a pop-up to me at second base and the way that the field was positioned the sun was behind the backstop. I lost the ball completely in the sun. It hit my glove and I dropped it. It was pretty embarrassing. It was an easy play and I made it look a little harder than it was.

Most difficult moment in baseball: When I was 8, I started playing on an all-star team with a bunch of the guys I played in rec league with. We were a really good team and I played with that team until I was around 10. My 11-year-old team when I tried out, I didn’t make it. That was one of the hardest things for me. I had to start playing with a bunch of new guys and a new team. That actually really helped me out looking back on it, getting to play a lot more with a new team and getting to make a bunch of new friends. It really made me a better person and better at the game.

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: My grandpa [Dallas] Hannah who is my mom’s dad. He actually passed away before I was born, so I never got to meet him. From what I heard, he was really into sports and just a lovey guy; Hank Aaron, obviously he was a baseball player and he was one of the best to ever do it. To face all of the adversity and how he was able to strive through it is really cool; My girlfriend Abby Ensogna, I love to be around her. She’s fun to be with and she makes me a better person.

Biggest athletic influence: Definitely, definitely my dad, 100 percent. He was there teaching me the game before I can even remember and he’s stuck with me all of the way until now. He’s definitely my biggest influence. He played, too [at Shepherd University]. He knew what he was talking about. He was coaching me, but also coaching me in a loving manner.

Who is your favorite teacher: I have two. My first is Mrs. [Suzanne] Miller, my middle school teacher. I had her in eighth grade. She was able to make my least favorite subject, which is English, my most favorite class which is pretty neat. My second is Miss [Deborah] Grumbacher. She teaches U.S. history at James Wood. She is very down to earth, personable and fun to talk to, but she also keeps you in line and makes sure you’re doing everything in school and out the correct way.

Favorite athlete: Freddie Freeman

Favorite sports team: Anything West Virginia University

Favorite movie: “Cars”

Favorite TV show: “The Office” or “Family Feud.” I watched a lot of “Family Feud” when I was growing up.

Favorite song: “Written in the Sand” by Old Dominion

Favorite food: Sirloin, medium rare

Worst thing you’ve eaten: Brussels sprouts if you’re talking actual food. A lot of times when you’re playing baseball, you slide head-first into a bag and get a mouthful of dirt. That’s probably the worst.

Plans after high school: I plan on going to JMU for four years and majoring in computer science. After that, I’m not too sure what jobs will be lined up for me, but hopefully I will get some internships while I’m there and that will open the door to a few jobs. I’m minoring in math as well. I got interested in computer science because of one of the teachers at James Wood, Brian Thomas. He got me into that class, big time. I actually wasn’t even into it the year before, but he talked me into it and I actually loved it.


— Compiled by Walt Moody