McAlester baseball graduated seven seniors from its lineup last year, but that’s no concern to
senior catcher Ethan Gillespie, who has started for the Buffaloes since he was a freshman.
“The Buffs, this year, can go as far as we want to,” Gillespie said. “It’s not every day you get a
team like the Buffs. A lot of hard work flows through the team and it will help us get through the
tough times in the season and come out on top.
“Sticking together and pushing through will get this team to where we want to be.”
One of McAlester’s few veterans, Gillespie’s teammates rely on his presence. He’s the “ultimate
team guy,” Buffs head coach Justin Mullins said.
“[Gillespie] has hit around .400 for us over his career and leads us in HRs over his career,”
Gillespie, a Coffeyville Community College signee, takes his leadership role seriously. He’s
learned the skill as a student leader at Calvary Baptist Church in McAlester.
“It has taught me a lot of ways to lead by example. I have the privilege to do a lot of things to
help get students grown in the Lord, and I don’t take it for granted,” Gillespie said. “I have had to
work on leadership, and, with somebody always watching or taking in the things that I do in my
life, I try to have the ‘Do Right’ mentality.”
And he knows how to work, too. Gillespie balances two jobs and is a member of National Honor
“Hard work is important to me because it is what I live off of,” Gillespie said. “I don’t think I would
be half the guy I am today with baseball or in the world if hard work wasn’t my main priority.”
After he trades in his gold and black threads, Gillespie plans to pursue a degree in safety while
playing baseball at Coffeyville. The college, just north of the Oklahoma-Kansas border, was the
obvious choice for the promising recruit.
“Coffeyville I feel was the right choice for me because it felt like home,” Gillespie said. “The
coaches have been nothing but great, and visiting was just another walk in the park, like I
wanted to be there.”
But before he leaves McAlester, Gillespie has a clear goal in sight: to lead the Buffs to their first
state title since 2000.
“It would mean a lot to our school to win a ring,” Gillespie said. “We have not won a ring in a
while, and it comes with the belief of everybody in the school and the community to achieve
that. I feel that it would bring joy and happiness all over McAlester.”
Photo by Lamon Photography