Lakeside High School Throws 198,384 Balls with FungoMan
Sibley, LA – October 7, 2011 – Head Coach Bob Gray has been coaching in Northwest Louisiana for over 26 years. He has seen a lot of baseball both as a coach and as a father. However, it wasn’t until March of 2008, that he convinced the parents and boosters of his small community in Sibley, LA that they needed the FungoMan Automated Baseball Practice Machine. He was able to see the number of repetitions increase overnight. “I had the drills,” Gray said. “…and I knew what I wanted to accomplish. Now I had a tool that would help me accomplish more during the same amount of time.”
The Lakeside High School FungoMan Automated Baseball Practice Machine has thrown over 198,000 baseballs (198,384 to be precise, according to the counter on the FungoMan wireless device). Although there is some wear on the original set of tires, Gray is proud to say that he has never had to change them.
When Coach Gray was asked why his machine had so many balls thrown, he simply replied, “We use it…Everyday!” When asked how he uses FungoMan, he quipped, “any way we can think of! Fly balls, ground balls, catcher popups, bunting practice, curve balls to hitters, timing drills for hitters…do you want me to keep going?”
Known for getting the most out of his players, Gray has taken his teams to the playoffs in every season except two (24 of 26 years). He has had 11 State Semi-Finalists, 1 State Runner-Up, and 2 State Championships (1990 and 1991).
The Lakeside Warriors completed the 2012 High School Baseball season as a Louisiana 2A State Semi-Finalist. Gray currently has 5 players that are playing baseball in college. Jackson Slade, a catcher at LSU, is the most notable player in Bob’s long career. Slade played this summer in Danville, IL in the Collegiate Summer League. He made the all-star team and hit over .350 for the summer. Of course, Slade, like most of the other players that have played for Gray, make sure they come through Sibley and check in with Coach before they head back to college.
Coach Gray has six children, 4 of them baseball playing boys. The eldest two played in college. The youngest is only 12. Gray’s son Will serves as an assistant coach for the Warriors.
“Our community got behind this investment, and it’s paid off,” Gray explains. “The players simply get more quality reps, which gives them the opportunity to compete at the same or higher level as kids in the bigger cities.” Other programs like nearby Choudrant and Minden High Schools have also purchased a FungoMan machine. In fact, over forty percent of the High Schools and Colleges in Northwest Louisiana currently own a FungoMan practice machine. “We feel that our part of the State can compete with anyone, and the FungoMan has helped many programs, like ours, elevate their players and teams to an exceptionally high level.”
NOTE: How to check how many balls have been thrown through a FungoMan machine?
1. Connect to the machine
2. From the Main Menu, click the About Button
3. Balls Thrown is listed on the bottom of the page