As one Fenter leaves Oxford, Miss., another won’t be far behind. West Memphis High School rising junior Gray Fenter has verbally committed to a baseball scholarship offer from Ole Miss. The fireballing righthander is right on the heels of his older sister, Shelby Jo, who is a starting pitcher for the Lady Rebel softball team about to enter her senior year. And if you’re keeping score at home, that’s almost 160 MPH worth of fastballs from the West Memphis area.
"My sister goes (to Ole Miss) and I’m tying to start a family tradition," Gray said, referring to choosing Ole Miss so early on in the recruiting process.
Fenter threw a limited amounted of innings last spring for the Blue Devils even though he led the team in innings pitched the year before as a ninth-grader. He has enjoyed a dazzling summer playing for Dulin’s Dodgers’ 16-and-under team based out of Memphis.
The burly 6-foot righty has maxed out at 93 MPH with his fastball, but the pitch that put him on the Rebel radar was an 82 MPH slider that he just developed this summer.
"Blair Wright, who is my (summer) head coach’s son showed me the slider grip," said Fenter. "I was throwing a curveball and then he told me to throw a slider. Two weeks later I was throwing that slider regularly. It feels pretty comfortable. I have a lot more control over it than when I started." Fenter said he’s also developing a straight change to go with the rest of his repertoire. Fenter said he drew recruiting interest from Mississippi State, which finished national runner-up m the College World Series last month. But he felt more comfortable, he said, on his visit to Ole Miss. "The baseball field there (Swayze Field) is really nice and the campus is amazing," he added. "It just felt like a good place to be." Fenter is a two-way starter for both the Blue Devils and the Dodgers. He is currently batting .400 for the Dodgers after being the top run-producer for WMHS last spring.
Tim Dulin, the baseball entrepreneur in Memphis, attracts the best baseball talent not only from the Memphis area, but from the South. He’s not short of compliments on Fenter’s upside.
"Gray has a huge amount of upside and I think he’s got a great chance to play pro ball," Dulin said. "There are pitchers his age with that kind of powerful arm who think they have to strike every batter out. But we’ve calmed him down and the other night he threw only 9 pitches and retired the side in order in one inning. The Dodgers have traveled all across the U.S to play weekend tournaments. "Just got back from Atlanta and threw a couple of innings there without giving up a hit," said Fenter, "It’s been fun traveling everywhere and playing against some of the best high school players in the nation."