Athlete of the Month: Dan Gross ’17

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photo by Aaron Wu

This spring, PHS baseball captain Dan Gross ’17 took to the field for his final baseball season in high school. His passion for the game originated from his brother, who initially influenced him to pick up the bat and play. This relationship is primarily what drives Gross to play hard in the spring. Since his brother graduated in 2014, the experience has been a rollercoaster ride; qualifying for states as a freshman, then having multiple losing seasons.  

“That was the first time [we qualified for states] in the last four or five years, so it was pretty cool to be apart of, especially being on the team with my brother,”  Gross said.

That was one of his most memorable moments playing on his high school team. Every year he sets out again to recreate the success he had with his older brother.

“I really look up to my brother so when he started playing baseball I really wanted to be just like him. That is the reason I started to play the sport,” said Gross.

Although Gross’s brother is his biggest role model, he likes the companionship and focus on the high school team, and loves learning from his teammates.

“[I love] the relationship we all have together. We joke around but we are still a very serious team. I feel like we all work well together, and since in baseball you have to play as one, it really helps out,” said Gross.

Gross has adapted this relationship into becoming a mentor and leader for the team.

“He’s really been a leader the last two years and we looked to him to set the expectations for the young and the newer varsity guys,” said Assistant Coach Dominic Capuano. “Dan was a really important part of the lineup, there were a couple people including him that really shaped the lineup as it should be.”

AS one of three seniors on the team, Gross batted .500 and tallied six RBI’s. His baseball prowess did not come easy. Throughout his career Gross has suffered multiple crippling injuries that were discouraging but contributed to the type of baseball player he is now.

“I’ve had a broken neck and several shoulder surgeries, so I’ve gone through a lot of adversity, and through hard work I have gotten to where I am today.”

Teammate Thomas Reid ’19 is part of the future of the baseball team and has been influenced by Gross’s leadership on the field.

“He was a monster at the plate this year, you could always count on him to hit the ball far and it was fun watching him at the plate.”

Reid recalls how Gross is not just a good player, but one who encourages everybody on the team.

“He is always supportive, and always cheering guys on out there, always screaming numbers. I think that is really helpful to the younger guys, making them feel more welcome and part of the team.” Reid said.

Gross will be attending Virginia Tech for college, but his post-high school athletic plans are not set in stone.

“I really want to try to play college baseball. I am trying to get recruited at the end of the summer, but as of now I don’t have any plans to play.”

Yet, when asked what he likes most about the sport, he responded, “Just being with my team.”

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