Austin's Michael Gaines is playing on Team Max Bats this summer and he will be playing all over the country. -- Rocky Hulne/
Austin's Michael Gaines is playing on Team Max Bats this summer and he will be playing all over the country. -- Rocky Hulne/

Austin’s Michael Gaines is playing for Team Max Bats

Published 7:22pm Friday, July 12, 2013

Michael Gaines made up his mind this summer that he was going to improve as a baseball player, and now he has a solid chance to do just that.

Gaines has been playing for the MaxBats National Baseball wooden bat team this summer and he will tour them throughout the United States this fall and winter, playing in Florida and Arizona.

After not seeing the field much during the high school season, Gaines was motivated to make himself a better player and now he is a pitcher and third baseman for MaxBats.

“I really enjoy getting a chance to play baseball,” he said. “I didn’t get a chance to play high school ball and then I got kicked off my Legion team. It kind of made me mad, but it lit a fire under me and motivated me to play harder and practice more often.”

Gaines initially tried out for the MaxBats National baseball team, which is based out of Lino Lakes, Minn., to play in their fall league but he was chosen to play with the ‘AAA’ team this summer as well as making their fall roster.

“I came to the tryouts just wanting to play baseball for their fall team,” Gaines said. “A day later I was the first one to be picked out. This is a lot bigger than I thought it would be.”

Gaines said the competition he has seen is strong as his team plays against other national teams and college freshman teams.

He said he’s also gotten better as a player.

“I’ve learned quite a bit,” Gaines said. “I’ve always needed to improve and playing in the Big Nine showed me that. I need to become better and this makes me feel like I can succeed if I keep trying and practicing every day.”

Gaines, who is blind in one eye, has also wrestled and played football and basketball for the Packers in the past, but he said baseball has always been his favorite sport.

“I’ve always loved baseball. There’s nothing like baseball to me,” he said.

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