Randall Grichuk’s name has become synonymous with home runs, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that the Lamar Consolidated (Rosenberg, Texas) senior lifted the Mustangs to a bi-district win over Manvel with not one, but two round-trippers.
Lamar Consolidated advanced to the second round of the Texas Class 4A state playoffs after defeating Manvel 10-0 and 8-7 over the weekend with Grichuk hitting a pair of home runs in the second game to give the Mustangs the sweep.
The two blasts lifts Grichuk’s state-leading home run total to 17, a position he is familiar with after leading the state last year with 17 home runs. His 34 home runs over the past two seasons puts him at the top of the national home run leaders list over that time span. He is the No. 32 player overall in the class of 2009, according to the MaxPreps High School Baseball Report.
But hitting home runs is nothing new for Grichuk. As a member of two Little League teams that made back-to-back trips to the World Series at Williamsport, Pa., Grichuk is one of the all-time leading home run hitters in the event with six in two years (the record is seven). He also set the World Series record for basehits in a tournament with 12.
A veteran of several national age-group teams, Grichuk won a gold medal for the USA 16U Youth National Olympic Team in the World Games in Venezuela two years ago. The team hit eight home runs during the World Games with Grichuk belting a team-best three homers.
Last August at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Grichuk was the first player to hit a home run in the event, blasting one out off of Arizona standout Jake Barrett.
“It was crazy being able to fly out to California and play in front of all the scouts and play well, too,” Grichuk said.
At the International Power Showcase High School Home Run Derby in January, Grichuk finished with 20 total home runs, the most of any of the 70 participants, including a best of 12 in one round. His longest home run measured 477 feet, which was the third-longest blast of the event.
Grichuk’s coach was convinced from the first moment he saw him swing a bat as a freshman. He inserted Grichuk into the No. 4 spot in the lineup as a freshman and has never regretted the decision.
“He has all the tools, arm, speed, power, fielding, instinct,” Greg Kobza said. “He has tremendous work ethic and practice habits and he is very coachable.”
Grichuk has already had many coaches in his baseball career, but he points to his father as being the most influential person in his baseball development.
“He’s been the most influential by far,” Grichuk said. “He will take me up to the field on off days and let me take batting practice for as long as I want. He also takes me to baseball games all over the place, including Astros and University of Houston games.”
An all-around athlete, Grichuk stopped playing football and basketball in high school to focus on baseball.
“Baseball takes hard work and dedication,” Grichuk said. “Anything’s possible in the game of baseball, you just have to take it seriously and work hard and set goals.”
Grichuk’s goals this year were to hit 20 home runs, bat over .550 and win a state championship. So far he’s on track to reach one of those goals thanks to a .611 batting average. After his two-homer effort against Manvel, he’s within three home runs of reaching his goal in that department.
Winning a state championship is still a month away, but the Mustangs are off to a solid start with a sweep in bi-district play. The Mustangs will tangle with Houston Austin this week in the second round. Lamar Consolidated will also have to get past Brenham, one of the top-ranked 4A teams in the state.
“They have a great program and a lot of talent,” Grichuk said.
The state finals will end in Texas about the same time as the Major League Baseball Draft. Mock drafts project Grichuk near the bottom of the first round, which could mean a trip straight to the minor leagues. However Grichuk has also committed to play at the University of Arizona.
Grichuk says being selected by a major league team would be another dream come true.
“It’s crazy. I would have never thought I was going to have the chance of getting drafted out of high school and start playing pro ball,” Grichuk said. “It’s always been the dream, but I never really thought it would be realistic.”