Thank You, Commodore Nation

Vanderbilt’s Harrison Ray offers his perspective, insight and thanks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The 2020 Vanderbilt baseball season ended March 11 due to the global health threat of COVID-19.

The Commodores (13-5) had two seniors on the squad, including second baseman Harrison Ray. Ray was an SEC coaches’ preseason all-SEC second team selection, had started all 18 contests in 2020, had nine stolen bases and tied for the team lead with four multi-RBI performances.

A Longwood, Florida, product, Ray played in 158 games for Vandy and was a major contributor on the 2019 national champion squad. Ray recently took some time to offer his perspective, insight and thanks to those who supported him throughout his career:

This past year has been a roller coaster. From not getting drafted, to winning the College World Series to starting my senior year.

To add, I lost a good friend, Adriel, and my grandmother in a two-month span. It seemed whenever I could gain peace or understanding, it was stripped away from me within seconds. It was a very confusing time that led me to question things about my faith and myself.

There are a few lessons I learned from all of these different experiences: you don’t control this thing called life, you can’t question the man above and you can never forget the people who love and support you. For anyone out there reading, please remember that you are exactly where you need to be and that there is a reason for what you are going through.

I want to thank the Lord for putting me where I am now and blessing me with family and friends that have supported me since I first picked up a bat. You know who you are.

Thank you for helping me get through those tough times and helping me recognize how much I have to be grateful for. All the recognition I get deserves to go to you all for supporting me through life and the sport I love: Baseball.

Speaking of baseball, it only seems right that I take time to thank everyone at Vanderbilt who has been alongside me every step of the way. I want to thank the media team that helped me put this piece together. The amount of time you all put into our team, as well as the content you produce, is impressive. You all do a phenomenal job at giving our fans a better glimpse into our world. It’s unbelievable how many moments you all capture from simple times — from jokes during practice to dog piles after championship wins. You truly are the reason we have the nation’s best social media following.

So again, thank you Pater, Chilley, Erin, Wes, Carl, Asa, and James. Thanks for bringing the VandyBoys to life. I appreciate you guys so much!

Next, to the support staff whose work is often overlooked, even though I believe that they are some of the hardest working people in the program. These are the people who come before the players and are at the field once we leave. Nothing would run without the support staff making sure that we have everything we need to perform for the next day.

Speaking on behalf of all of the players, we appreciate how selfless and helpful you all are. It seems like you are always thinking about ways to make the team more prepared and ready to play. Thank you Brooks, Hammer, Casey, Meg, Chot, B’s, Tracy, Chris M., Kevin, Marty, Sara, Blair, Caitlyn, Samps, Chase, Goody, Jackson, Preston, Ethan, Drew, Sebastian. Love each and every one of y’all!

To the coaching staff – I clearly wouldn’t be the player I am without you guys. You have given me an amazing opportunity to grow and learn the game. You are the reason this program is unlike any other out there.

These four years have passed with many ups and downs, but I want to say thank you for all the extra ground balls, the extra bunts and the extra swings to help me improve. I don’t take any of your knowledge, whether it be baseball or life, for granted and I am so grateful to have been coached and recruited by such talented people. Thank you Travis, B.A, D.J, Gersh, Bax, Mas and Brownie. Each one of you played a part in my success and I will never forget that. Love you guys!

To the coach that impacted my life the most: Corbs. I don’t even know where to start. You’ve been a second father to me because you also have pushed me to places I never imagined. You cared about and protected me like I was your own. Anything I write in this little paragraph will never do justice to the impact you and Maggie have had on my life.

I’m so blessed and honored to have played under a coach who is a two-time national champion, two-time SEC Coach of the Year and Hall of Fame inductee. Thank you Maggie, Molly, Hannah and Corbs for giving me a second family in Nashville! Love you all.

Oh, and Corbs, let Maggie tell the jokes because yours aren’t funny and she’s better at it!

Harrison Ray

Finally, to the most important people on this journey: My teammates. It wouldn’t be the same without you guys. All the time we spent together over the years are irreplaceable.

I will never forget the meals after baseball, road trips, bonding in packed hotel rooms, bus rides and summers in Towers. I will cherish every single moment spent with you guys because the bond we all share is special. I can’t wait to see where you all end up.

It was really great playing for guys you would do anything for. Love you guys!

I can’t forget about the Vandy fans. Thank you for all of your unwavering support to our program! The hours driven to see us play, donations and cheering don’t even add up to how much you mean to me. It is you who gets us through those tough losses and pumps us up for the next game.

Your support and attendance at games gives us more reasons to make the community proud. Every single interaction I spent with you all is special and I am so appreciative for the opportunity to have met you. I ask that you never stop rooting for the VandyBoys, but also the other sports that need your support to.

I do not know the next step in my journey due to our current situation, but I do know that wherever I end up, I will always be a Commodore for life.

Stay safe in this unprecedented time, and always ANCHOR DOWN!

– HR2

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