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Four seniors had North Greene baseball hopes high

Douglas Fritz • May 7, 2020 at 10:00 AM

It was going to be quite a race for baseball in the Watauga Valley Conference this season.

Things didn’t get to play out because of the pandemic, but North Greene head coach Jason Lowe said his team — led by four key seniors — was one of several in the league with high hopes.

“University High and Sullivan North, those two teams were going to be tough, and Hampton had a ton of seniors,” Lowe said. “Unaka was the unknown and Cloudland was rebuilding a little bit. But it was going to be a dogfight.

“Usually it comes down to who has a guy who can throw strikes deep into the tournament. And I had about five guys I really trusted to go out there and throw seven innings.”

Lowe said his team had visions of a run to Murfreesboro.

“Our expectations were very high this year,” Lowe said. “Last year we had no seniors, so we returned everyone. We were real excited about that.”

Lowe talked about each of his seniors and the impact they were making before the season ended.

“Turner Bailey was a heck of a baseball player,” said Lowe of the multi-position and multi-sport standout. “He had a little arm trouble in the past, but his arm was feeling good and he was going to be able to pitch.”

Bailey batted cleanup for the Huskies and struck out only eight times as a junior. He played outfield, first base, third base and could catch if needed.

Chase Malone was a fourth-year starter at second base.

“I don’t know how I am going to replace him,” Lowe said. “I knew if the ball was hit on the right side of the infield, we had an out. He was a hard-nosed kid.”

Brayden Garber was in the starting pitching rotation and could also move around the diamond.

“He was a kid who literally played all nine positions on the field,” Lowe said. “He was someone who could do it all.”

Zavier Gillespie was a good player and person, Lowe said.

“First and foremost, he’s a wonderful young man,” said Lowe.

Gillespie plans to attend college on a fishing scholarship. On the diamond he started in the outfield.

“He could absolutely fly,” said Lowe, who was in his fourth season as the Huskies’ head coach.

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