Manila star completes busy summer
Manila pitcher Tray Malone was busy on the baseball diamond this summer, preparing for his senior season with the Lions. Malone, who had a banner junior year, posting an 11-1 record with a sparkling 0.96 earned run average, received numerous honors for his accomplishments.
Malone was selected to play in several All-Star events over the summer, including the Heartland All-State Classic held in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the Xtra Innings Classic in Jonesboro, the Williams Baptist College Showcase in Walnut Ridge, as well as being chosen for the Chicago White Sox try-out camp in Little Rock.
Malone was also honored for his performance last season by being selected All-State, All-State Tournament, All-Region, All-District and Best Under the Sun. He was one of only three juniors selected to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette All-Arkansas team, and was named as one of the Top 50 Baseball Players in the state.
Malone owns a career 13-2 record and has a fastball that reaches a speed of 88 miles per hour. The right-hander struck out 127 batters in only 79 innings during his junior campaign.
Malone is looking forward to a big senior season, and hopes to land several offers from colleges across the country.
"I don't have a preference of where I would like to play college ball," said Malone. "I just want to have the chance to play somewhere."
Malone sports three pitches, a fastball, a changeup, and a "slurve" pitch, which is a combination curveball and slider.
"I love competition, and I love to win," said Malone. "I had a great time this summer, participating in the All-Star events. I would really like to thank the sponsors who helped send me to the Heartland Classic, Doug and Susan McCormick, Shonda and Sandra Sparks, Baker Implement Company, MCB Farms, Farmers Market and B& B's Cafe. Without their support, I couldn't have made the trip."
"Tray is just a great competitor," said Manila Baseball Coach Steve Milligan. "As a sophomore in his first game he pitched seven innings at Piggott and won the game. He's been on a roll ever since. Tray has stayed humble despite all of his success. His best attribute is his competitive spirit. He loves a tough challenge, and loves to pitch in the big games. He's at his best in the most important games. He wants to be out there in those situations. I believe whoever gets him in college will be getting a good one."
Malone, son of Paul and Lori Malone, credits Darrell Birmingham for making him into a pitcher. "I wouldn't be where I'm at today if it wasn't for Darrell," said Malone. "Coach Milligan has also been a very big influence on me as well as our high school pitching coach, Don Nunnally."
"I am really looking forward to my senior year," said Malone. "We are hoping to make it three straight district championships. We have a lot of new players, but I think we'll be a very good team. I want to get back to the state tournament, and hopefully this year we will make it further after losing a heartbreaking game in the first round last year."