Senatobia HS's Ben Grisham to Live His Dream

[Premium article] Ben Grisham is a first-team All-State infielder from Senatobia (MS) High School. Ben, who was also the ace pitcher of the Senatobia HS staff, plans on signing a baseball scholarship with Mississippi State. Gene's Page interviewed Ben late Sunday afternoon.

Ben, I've heard that you have signed a scholarship with Mississippi State. Is that correct?
"I haven't signed with them but I am going to."

When did Mississippi State first offer you?
"Coach Raffo called Tuesday night (June 4, the first day of the MLB Draft) and talked to my dad. He offered then. I didn't get to talk to him because I was playing baseball. I contacted him Saturday and told him I accepted their offer."

When did Mississippi State first contact you?
"It was after their winter camp they had in January. They showed a little interest then."

What are the State coaches saying as far as where you will play while at State?
"They want to use me as a dual position player. Coach Raffo said they will experiment with me in the fall and see what happens. They will play me in the outfield, infield and pitch me some, too."

What did Coach Raffo say the MSU coaches liked about you?
"I've talked to Coach Raffo a couple of times this week. He said they really like my versatility and my speed. I run about a 6.7 (seconds in the 60 yard dash)."

That is really good speed. Were you a base stealer in high school?
"I batted third so I didn't get to steal much. We had two guys ahead of me who would get on base. It was my job to knock them in."

What is your height and weight?
"5-11 and 170."

What positions have you played in high school?
"I pitched, played infield and outfield. I've played everything."

What position do you play in the infield?
"I played third whenever I wasn't pitching. I'm playing third for the Oxford Redbirds this summer."

How did you do record-wise as a pitcher?
"I was 12-4."

What pitches do you throw?
"Fastball, curve, and a changeup and knuckleball. I'm working on my control with the changeup and knuckleball. Most of the time, I have fairly good control of my changeup but I don't throw it that much. I have good control of my fastball and curve."

Do you know what your consistent fastball velocity is?
"Consistently, it is probably 86 to 87."

You were the ace pitcher for your team this past season; how long have you actually been starting for your high school team?
"I started every game in rightfield my sophomore year and pitched just a little bit. Last year, I started every game in left and I also pitched a little that year. This year is actually the first time that I have pitched a lot."

Why didn't you pitch much during your sophomore and junior seasons?
"We had a couple of seniors last year who were our main pitchers."

What honors did you earn this past season?
"I was selected by the Mississippi Association of Coaches as a first team All-State infielder."

We talked a little about how you did as a pitcher, how have you done as a hitter during your high school career?
"This year, I batted about .410. Last year, I stayed right around .500 until the playoffs. We got put out the first round and I think I went 2-for-12. That dropped my average to .488. My sophomore year, I batted about .300. My junior year, I hit 10 home runs and this year I hit 8. My sophomore year, I had 2 home runs."

How did your team do this season?
"We won the 3A State Championship. We beat Purvis two straight games. We won the first game at Purvis. I got the win in that game. We came back (to Senatobia) and won the second game 5-2. We had a junior that has pitched well for us and he won that game."

Just curious, have you grown up a fan of any particular college?
"Dad and I started going to the Mississippi State games when I was in the 8th or 9th grade. I've always been a real big fan. We went to a regional there and had a blast. I've also got an older brother, Scott, who will be a senior at Mississippi State next year. "

One other thing, are you related to John Grisham, the author? I've heard a rumor that you may be related to him, but I don't know for sure.
"Yes sir, he is my dad's brother."

I've enjoyed talking to you, Ben.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is You can contact him by emailing

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