| TALKING SHOP - W/ USA BORDER BATTLE TEAM MEMBER JOHNNY MCCRAW |
Birthplace: Asheboro, NC
Played for: Sunbelt Plastics, Dan Smith/Menosee, Team Combat
Accomplishments: 2010 USSSA National Hall of Fame; 2009 ASA Male Athlete of the Year; 2008 USSSA World Series MVP; Team USA 2009-2013
For those who are unfamiliar, can you tell us about your hitting style?
I would say my hitting style is still “old school”. I continue using the conventional grip while the game has changed to more of an overlap grip. A predominately pull hitter by trade with great power to all fields. I use my lower body to generate most of my power by getting more linear through the zone as opposed to more rotational.
Choose Your Weapon: Two-piece or one-piece bat and why?
Without a doubt I prefer the one-piece bat. I use the heaviest bat we make and the two-piece bat has entirely too much flex for my liking. I want to feel the ball come off the bat and know when I hit it well but also want to feel it when I miss too.
You’ve had a chance to represent your country 4 times as part of the USA Boarder Battle Team. What does it mean to you to where the red/white/blue?
Representing the red, white and blue has been the highlight of my career. You grow up watching the Olympics and when you have the opportunity to represent your sport and compete against other countries on a national stage, nothing else compares.
You are a two time “Long Haul Bomber Tour” winner. What was your favorite MLB park to hit in on the tour and why?
I would say there is a tie between two MLB parks, those being Cincinnati Reds and the Texas Rangers. Reason being is that those two clubs really support the Bombers and allowed us to hit after the game just before the fireworks show and there was 40,000 fans watching. That makes for one hell of an event. At other stadiums, we hit before the game and there might be 500 people in the stands.
How about favorite city on the Tour and why?
I would say Arlington, TX because of the event they put on but also for the things you can do around the area. I’m a huge Dallas Cowboys fan and I got to go see their new stadium across the street from the baseball stadium. The food is incredible as well. I love steak and what better place to find a steak than in Texas.
Other then softball, what other sports, hobbies or past times occupy your days off?
I love playing golf and going fishing on my days off.
Tell us how you became involved with the Combat family?
I was playing softball for an Easton team for years, and one year I was introduced to the Combat products and have been using them ever since. Then it turned into a full time career when I went to work for Combat in 2006 doing sales and promotions.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career in softball and why?
Don Cooper has been most influential in my softball career because he gave me the opportunity to use Combat products, provided me a team to play for every year and provided a career in the industry. Altogether it has been very rewarding and it would not have happened if it were not for him.
Do you have any crazy superstitions or pre-game rituals?
In my younger days I was superstitious but have since grown out of it. I would have to wear a certain pair of socks with each uniform and I had to put the same sock on the same foot each time. I would also wear wristbands for one game and then discard them but that became expensive.
What’s your go-to meal when preparing for a softball game?
I eat a Kit-Kat candy bar and drink a Monster Energy drink before games. Not much of a meal but that is what I eat.
If you had to pick 1 all time Combat bat to go to war with, which would it be?
Derby Boys SP1 – by far the best bat we ever made at Combat