When the Vanderbilt Commodores won the College Baseball World Series this past June, no one was more proud than A's right-hander Sonny Gray.
After attending Smyrna High School in Tennessee -- where he pitched for the baseball team and led the football team to consecutive state championships as a quarterback -- Gray was drafted by the Cubs but opted to attend nearby Vanderbilt instead.
There, he won 27 games, second in school history, and collected 317 strikeouts.
Gray helped pave the path for this year's champions: In 2011, he led Vandy to its first College World Series appearance.
It is no surprise, then, that Gray was beaming after Vanderbilt won the title. He found out the result on the team plane while sitting next to A's closer Sean Doolittle, whose alma mater of Virginia came up short against the Commodores.
Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.