Former Laker baseball standout inducted into high school's Hall of Fame

Cody Grice, now a graduate assistant with GVSU baseball, has come a long way since he was a standout for DeWitt high school

By Brady McAtamney | 8/23/16 2:40pm

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GVL/Luke Holmes - Assistant Coach, Cody Grice, watches his players between innings. Grand Valley Men’s Baseball lost to Walsh college 3-4 in the first game but won 15-8 in the second game.

by Luke Holmes / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Cody Grice, a former Grand Valley State standout baseball player who had stints in the MLB, has been named to the DeWitt High School—his alma mater—athletics Hall of Fame, where he also was a star player.

It’s been a long journey since the first time he picked up a bat.

As he grew, so did his game. A fine athlete, his bat came around and he began hitting the ball exceptionally. However, baseball was not the only game in his life. Grice began to garner a reputation as a linebacker for his high school team, and he began to think that he may want to continue hitting running backs instead of baseballs. He received varsity letters and All-League honors as a football star at DeWitt High School in addition to his baseball accolades.

As it turned out, his involvement with football would pay major dividends for his baseball tools. Time spent in the weight room coupled with his raw athleticism and speed developed Grice into a dynamic player on the diamond – and college programs took notice.

“I remember going to see him at his showcase and I really liked his athleticism at the start. He had the potential to be a big time player,” said GVSU baseball coach Jamie Detillion, then an assistant coach, said of Grice.

In his senior year at DeWitt, Grice hit for a .439 average, popped 4 home runs, and led the team with 39 runs batted in. These numbers earned him All-League, All-District, All-Region, and All-State honors as well as a spot in the East-West All-Star game at Comerica Park in Detroit.

“I think that Cody was really just beginning to realize his potential in high school. He certainly had a stellar high school career, but that was really just the tip of the iceberg for him,” said Grice's coach Mike Brya of DeWitt baseball.

Ultimately, the sought after infielder-turned-outfielder decided to continue on with his baseball career and left football in the rearview mirror when he committed to GVSU.

Grice picked up where he left off when arriving in Allendale, where he homered in his first-ever at-bat. He’d go on to post tremendous numbers worthy of bringing home the GLIAC Freshman of the Year award. Along with that, the Lakers went on to compete in the Division II World Series.

Things picked up during his sophomore year. In addition to setting a new school record with 100 hits in a single season, Grice led the conference in triples and total bases and finished second in average and runs scored. These numbers made him a semifinalist for the Division II Player of the Year award.

Grice was no longer an under-the-radar college player from Michigan. His name was now inked into the scouting reports of professional baseball teams across the country.

The exercise science major went on again to dominate at the plate and on the base paths in his junior campaign.

His excellence as a Laker brought his name to the mouths of New York Yankees scouts and executives who eventually selected him in the 12th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.

“I didn’t think pro ball could be an option until my junior year (of college) when people told me I had a shot. I was more of an in-the-moment guy. I just worked hard and it panned out that way,” Grice said.

Grice started his professional career in the New York-Penn League with the Staten Island Yankees and posted respectable numbers all the way up to Triple-A with the Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders.

“I think just all the time I spent in Triple-A was pretty awesome. You get treated a little differently there. I got to play with some good players and one game I had two home runs in a game and I hit my first grand slam ever, so that was probably my career highlight," he said. "It was a treat to be around some rehabbing big leaguers, too.”

Grice added that he even had the opportunity to share the same uniform and field as players such as Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson at times.

Grice was tossed throughout the whole organization before returning to GVSU in 2015 to serve as a graduate assistant with the baseball team while he works to get his MBA.

“He’s a very knowledgable source. He’s a like a sponge, man – he soaks up knowledge and keeps it with him," Detillion said. "He recognizes little points in the game, and he got an exercise science degree from here at Grand Valley so he helps run our exercise programs. He’s just a talented kid.

“I think he’s a great baseball mind if he wants to stay into coaching. He’s got an itch to get into the strength and conditioning side. If he wants to stay in coaching, he’ll be a good one, and if he gets into strength and conditioning, he’ll be good there. I’d say professionally, his better days are ahead of him just because he’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.”

Just recently, Grice received word that he had been selected as an inductee into the DeWitt High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Needing to meet just three criteria, Grice was an easy choice to join DeWitt royalty in their hall. His outstanding athletic achievement, individual recognition and honors, contributions to team success and overall athletic program success, good character, good standing as a student athlete and positive contribution to the community all contributed to his induction.

“He’s always known where he’s come from and the community has supported him. The family he comes from has made DeWitt very proud,” Brya said.

The ceremony will take place at halftime of DeWitt’s Sept. 30 football bout against Haslett at DeWitt Memorial Stadium.

“I’m proud. There’s so many people in (the Hall of Fame) that I know personally that I’ve always admired and have a lot of respect for. Within the town, everyone’s close knit and people know you so it’s an honor to be up there on that wall,” Grice said. “I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of such a great tradition in their athletics, and I want to thank all the coaches and people who helped me along the way.”

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