NAMPA — Behind the net, summer practice for one youth travel baseball team is already in full swing. One player, in particular, is practicing for another successful season on the mound.
Grayden Lucas is 13 years old, but he's been playing the game since he was a toddler.
"He has a natural athletic ability, so we, you know baseball's a part of our family, so he jumped in at like four years old playing league baseball, excelled at it, and go to be a part of really successful teams," said Grayden's father and assistant coach Jay Lucas.
His pitches are so fast it sometimes takes competitors and spectators a while to see that he's playing one-handed. Grayden was born without part of his right arm and hand, but that hasn't hindered his performance out on the field.
"From a dad perspective, obviously I'm really proud of him because I see how other people react when they see what he's capable of doing," said Jay Lucas.
The sport is practically in his DNA. His dad, the team's assistant coach, played through college and Grayden's oldest brother was recently drafted by the Miami Marlins, a milestone Grayden is setting for himself, too.
"College and then hopefully MLB," said Grayden of his aspirations.
His favorite part of the game, besides his signature pitches, is the team dynamic.
"There's a lot of situations that you need to be a team-player, like mainly hitting, if there's a guy on third (base), groundball," said Grayden.
Grayden is thankful for the support coming from the stands, but when it's game time, he has his mind focused on one thing.
"To him, he's just playing," said his father.