Seven Innings with Levi Humphrey

In the boys will be boys world of high school baseball, Prairie View senior first baseman Levi Humphrey's rotund physique and disdain for running make him a natural target for his teammates' jokes. Taking the barbs in stride, the 5-7, 225-pound Humphrey has been known to poke fun at himself.

But rest assured no one has ever accused Humphrey of being boring. Chances are, they never will.

"There's never a dull moment with Levi," Prairie View coach Dan Smart said.

Even when Humphrey is serious, he usually has a smile on his face.

On the field, he can constantly be seen carrying on conversations with the opposing first base coach or the nearest umpire. Basically, Humphrey is willing to talk to anyone who will listen.

Though he defies the mold of a typical first baseman, Humphrey can dig balls out of the dirt with the best of them.

"Levi has the softest hands I have ever seen," Smart said. "A lot of coaches have commented to me about how soft his hands are."

Humphrey's offensive production has declined this season, a fact which can probably be attributed to a winter hunting accident. Though he suffered a concussion and still experiences pain from a surgically-repaired broken left collarbone, Humphrey was fortunate to escape more serious injuries.

Still, Smart says Humphrey has been a solid contributor at the plate.

"Levi's gotten a lot of key hits this year," Smart said. "It may not have been a shot every time, but whenever we've need a bloop single, he's given us a bloop single. Whenever we've need a sacrifice fly, he's given us a sacrifice fly. Levi's been good about moving the runners."

And even better at making his teammates laugh.

"Levi always has something funny to say," Smart said. "I'm going to miss him dearly next year."

Top 1st: When did you start playing baseball?

Levi Humphrey: I started playing baseball in T-Ball for Mountain Valley Water. Gary Turner was our coach.

Bottom 1st: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of baseball?

Humphrey: My favorite part of baseball is being with the team and playing games.

My least favorite part is when it's over.

Top 2nd: How important was it for the Spartans to make the playoffs this season?

Humphrey: Making the playoffs was at the top of the list. That was one of our goals when we started out this year.

Bottom 2nd: What was your reaction when Tristen Shanks scored the game-winning run (on a wild pitch) in the bottom of the ninth against River Oaks last week?

Humphrey: I was at the plate and started waving him home as soon as the ball bounced. When he got there, we all tackled him.

Top 3rd: What's it going to take for the Spartans to put together a playoff run?

Humphrey: Everybody has to turn everything on at the same time. We have to come together and play as a team and we have to start hitting the ball. We haven't hit like we did last year.

Bottom 3rd: Tell us about your hunting accident.

Humphrey: A bunch of us were going duck hunting and I was riding in a trailer, sitting on a 4-wheeler. We were racing to the duck blind, going 75 miles per hour, trying to be the first ones to the duck hole. I was holding the gate and had a rope tied to my hand. The plan was when the truck stopped, all I had to do was drop the rope and take off. But my arm got tired from holding the rope and I woke up seeing stars.

I had to have a plate and eight screws put right here (pointing to his left collarbone).

I still have some pain, but it could have been a lot worse.

Top 4th: Who is the toughest pitcher you have ever faced?

Humphrey: Chase Cater from Riverfield last year. He threw in the 90s.

Bottom 4th: What is the best coaching advice you have ever received?

Humphrey: In the words of coach (Don) King,

'Rule No. 1: The coach is always right.

'Rule No. 2: If the coach is wrong, refer back to rule No. 1.'

Top 5th: What are you going to miss the most about playing high school baseball?

Humphrey: Just being out here with all my friends.

Bottom 5th: What advice would give to the younger players?

Humphrey: I would say to give it your all for all four years because high school is going to fly by a lot quicker than you think it will.

Top 6th: What are your favorite hunting and fishing stories?

Humphrey: My favorite hunting story is when I was 5 years old, went hunting with my daddy (Bruce Humphrey) and killed my first deer.

Bottom 6th: What is your favorite fishing story?

My favorite fishing story is from the time Tanner (Aulds) almost drowned in the bean field. I think we had six or seven fish and we tied them around his waist and started swimming back to the other side. The fish kept dragging Tanner under and Austin (McDonald) finally dropped all of his stuff and helped him get across.

Top 7th: What are your summer plans?

Humphrey: I plan on going up north, working on a pipeline and making some money for college.

This will be the first summer I haven't played baseball since I was 6, so that's going to be different.

Bottom 7th: What are your future plans?

Humphrey: I plan on going to UAM (Arkansas-Monticello), graduating in E&I (Electrical & Instrumentation) and becoming an offshore electrician. Ever since I was a kid, I've always liked wiring things up.