First baseman Graeme Luttor, one of the best pure hitters the Astros franchise has produced in the last ten years, has been recognized as one of the top baseball players in the annual NAIA Pre-season Rundown. Luttor is a Junior at Midway University in Kentucky. Luttor’s recent accolades include Conference Freshman of the Year and he is now a “Top 20 First Basemen to Watch” for this coming season, according to College Magazine.
Luttor, a member of the Team O Class of 2016, started his US college baseball career at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. At Cumberland U, Graeham was beset with injuries during his first NAIA season and had to battle back from a serious concussion sustained in a base-running collision. His story is a cautionary tale for our players to acknowledge, but, most importantly, it is an inspirational story about Graeham’s steely determination to reinvigorate his US College career. The former Team Ontario corner infielder continues to work out at The Dugout during the off-season under the tutelage of our Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Stewart who admires “Graeme’s work ethic. Graeme’s commitment to training is off the charts and second-to-none.” It is evident that Midway University and Kentucky have been a great fit for the former Astro.
Graeham offered us these insights and reflections in an interview with Jim Stewart, Director of Communications.
JS: What’s the best part about attending Midway and what’s it like living in Kentucky for ten months a year?
GL: The best part of attending Midway is you get the small school atmosphere while also getting the big city perks living 20 minutes away from Lexington. It is different than living in Toronto for sure; winters aren’t as harsh and college basketball really takes over in March. It’s been a great experience thus far and I’m looking forward to the start of our season.
JS: What NAIA conference do you play in and who are Midway’s big rivals year-to-year?
GL: We play in The River States Conference. Our biggest rival is Point Park University; we’ve played some pretty intense games against them the past few years. They beat us in the Conference Tournament in 2018 and we knocked them out in 2019.
JS: How competitive will Midway’s baseball team be this upcoming season?
GL: Extremely. We have a lot of young guys with a lot of potential, depth at all 9 spots. We’ve been committed to the process dating back to the Fall so it’s going to be a really fun year.
JS: What states do you travel to during your 2020 schedule?
GL: We travel to Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
JS: What is the most challenging aspect of playing US College Baseball?
GL: Learning how to balance baseball, school, and social life. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I began to understand how to take a step back and see things from a different perspective-understanding what’s a priority and what’s a distraction was one of the most important life lessons I learned as a student athlete.
JS: What is your major at Midway? What is your favourite class this semester?
GL: I am double majoring in Sports Management and Business.
My favourite class is Sports Sales and Sponsorships; it is an interesting and enjoyable class, as it requires me to think critically and problem solve. It’s a field I’ve been interested in and it is a nice change of pace compared to other classes I have taken.
JS: What was your best memory of playing for Team Ontario?
GL: My best Team Ontario memory was playing UCONN in the fall of 2015. It changed my perspective and made me understand the commitment and determination it takes to play at the college level.
JS: In what ways did Team Ontario prepare you to play US College baseball?
GL: Coach Booth’s 18U staff did a great job in explaining everyday life as a student athlete, the early mornings and the late nights. Coach Booth preached to never be complacent as there is always someone behind you competing and looking to take your spot. Coach Booth also helped me understand that college baseball is fast-paced and Team Ontario gave me the tools to slow the game down and be in the moment.
JS: Describe your off-season physical training regimen that you use to stay in shape for US College baseball.
GL: My offseason routine begins with Alex Stewart at Full Force Fitness. I’ve been working with him for the past 5 years and he has completely transformed my body. In the summer, we work on conditioning and functional training. In the Fall, we focus on heavy, strength training. Leading up to the start of the season, we work on explosive movements. It is important to find a program that works for you and to work with a trainer that you are comfortable with.
JS: What is the best advice you could offer our young Astros players about preparing themselves for life as a US College baseball player?
GL: I’ve got two prominent life lessons I’ve learned over my 3 and half years of school. The first is to fall in love with the game. Being a student athlete is a grind and the moment it becomes a chore to study or practice is the moment you’ll really struggle. The second is how important is it to drown out the white noise. It could be from opposing fans, players or even your teammates, but you have got to find a way to stay focused and stay in the moment.
Congratulations to Graeham Luttor who has made the Team Ontario Astros Elite baseball organization very proud of his post-secondary achievements on and off the baseball field at Midway University in Kentucky.