ACE up sleeve

Gray, Walters gain scholarships from program

Senior+outfielder+Percy+Walters+catches+a+ball+in+the+outfield.+Walters+has+three+home-runs+this+season.+

Senior outfielder Percy Walters catches a ball in the outfield. Walters has three home-runs this season.

Langston McHenry, Editor-in-Chief

Full rides to college, personal relationships with professional athletes, and showcasing skills in front of college scouts are all things high school athletes
dream of.

For seniors Bryce Gray and Percy Walters, all of these things have become a reality thanks to the Amateur City Elite Program, commonly known as ACE.

“I’ve been able to showcase my skills in front of hundreds of college coaches and MLB scouts,” Walters said. “I’ve also been able to play at three MLB stadiums and meet many MLB players.”
ACE is a free program designed by the Chicago White Sox in 2007 that helps prepare players for the next level while avoiding the costly fees of other programs.

“The White Sox pay for all of our gear and it’s completely free,” Walters said. “We get the exposure unlike most travel teams and most of the coaches throughout the program are involved or were involved in both college and professional baseball.”

While ACE prides themselves in being a free powerhouse, they also take pride in the work ethic they instill in their players. Their three main goals are: “develop high caliber talent, raise the number of African American participants and prepare players for success beyond baseball.”

“[ACE has] prepared me to handle a lot of pressure,” Gray said. “I’ve played with, and in front of, many important people and it’s helped me learn how to compose myself.”

The work ethic and other tools ACE has instilled into Gray and Walters has prepared them for the next level.

“ACE was extremely influential in helping me choose my college,” Gray said. “They gave me information about coaches and other things a normal person wouldn’t know.”

After being teammates in football and baseball for such a long time, Gray and Walters will part ways this summer, with both going to different colleges on baseball scholarships. Walters will be attending Morehouse and Gray will attend Notre Dame.

“It’ll be weird not playing together,” Gray said. “We’ve been playing together since we were nine so it’s going to be sad not being on the field with him anymore.”

Although Gray and Walters will be parting ways with H-F soon, other students and members of ACE such as sophomore Kyle Salley will use the things Gray and Walters have taught them to continue the baseball tradition here.

“Bryce and Percy have showed me how to be great student athletes and leaders in their actions on and off the field,” Salley said. “They have that big brother quality and they’re attitude is contagious and helps bring the team together.”