Senior-Laden Devils, Huskies Look To Make Deep Runs | Greeneville

With eight seniors on their roster, the Greeneville Greene Devils enter the 2021 high school baseball season with high expectations.

But for starters, Greeneville coach Andy Collins is just happy to have the possibility of playing an entire season after the 2020 campaign was halted just a week in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are high expectations, yes. But I really

don’t care about wins and losses right now,” said Collins, whose Greene Devils were 3-2 when the season was cut short a year ago. “It’s just a chance to play baseball again.”

Greeneville’s seniors include infielder/catcher Adrian Bundy, outfielder/pitcher Ayden Cheney, catcher/pitcher Avery Collins, infielder/pitcher Will Hurley, outfielder/pitcher Nick Iezzi, infielder/pitcher Trey Massengill, infielder/pitcher Hunter Richards and first baseman/pitcher Walker Townsley.

Cheney, Iezzi, Massengill and Richards were named East Tennessee High School Baseball League all-stars over the summer.

Cheney was named the East Division’s hitter of the year and most valuable player. He batted a team-best .571 (16-for-28) with a team-best four doubles and a division-best 13 RBI. He also had two triples.

Iezzi batted .429 (9-for-21) with three doubles, a team-best three triples and nine RBI.

Massengill batted .433 (13-for-30) with two doubles, an RBI and a team-best 11 runs scored.

And Richards was 1-1 with a 2.25 earned run average in four starts on the mound. in 9 1/3 innings, he gave up three hits, five runs (three earned), walked nine and struck out 12.

Hurley was named MVP of the Tennessee Smokies Fall Ball League while leading the Spider Monkeys to the league championship. He was 1-1 with a 1.91 ERA. In 11 innings, he gave up eight hits, three earned runs, walked five and struck out 22. He also batted .375 (6-for-16) with two doubles, three RBI and walked eight times.

“A lot of these seniors have been with me for more than four years. They drive each other, which is one of the best parts about this group,” Collins said. “At this point for me, it’s just sit back and watch them play. Sometimes the best coach is the one who leaves them alone and just let’s them play. My job now is to just point them in the right direction, hopefully.”

The Greene Devils enter the season with the deepest pitching staff they’ve had the past four seasons, including when they won the state championship in 2018.

Richards is expected to start the season opener against Jefferson County at home at 5 p.m. Monday. Hurley will be in the rotation, while Townsley and Colton Richards will also vie for starts.

“We have 20 guys and 18 can pitch. Since last August, we’ve really tried to build a lot of depth there,” Collins said. “A lot of guys are going to have multiple opportunities to step up. Once you see what guys do with those opportunities, you kind of roll with what comes to the top.”

Avery Collins, a middle-of-the-order bat, is playing with the Greeneville boys basketball team in the Class 2A state tournament this week at MTSU. If the Greene Devils reach Saturday’s championship game, he might miss the entire week on the diamond.

“Avery committed to playing basketball and he’s going to obviously honor that commitment. We hope they win state,” Andy Collins said. “This gives us a chance to compete and build confidence this week with a piece missing.”

Bundy, Greeneville’s backup catcher the past two years, is expected to be behind the plate today. Massengill and junior Ty Casteel can also catch.

In 2019, Greeneville went 30-7 overall, 11-0 in District 2-2A and lost 5-2 to Pigeon Forge in the state sectionals.

NORTH GREENE

The Huskies were 2-3 when the season was halted last year. In 2019, they went 23-12 and lost 2-0 to eventual Class A state champion Greenback in the Region 1-A semifinals.

Senior shortstop/outfielder/pitcher Cayden Foulks is North Greene’s top returning hitter and arm. In 2019, he batted a team-best .354 with 36 RBI and posted a 1.89 earned run average with 77 strikeouts on the mound.

Senior shortstop Chance Campbell batted .344 and scored 42 runs in 2019. Senior left-handers Carson Whaley and Carter Morelock are expected to be in the pitching rotation.

Senior catcher Jonah Palmer returns for his fourth season behind the plate. Senior third baseman Tucker Owen and senior outfielder Micah Jones are expected to add punch at the plate.

North Greene is slated to open its season Thursday against McMinn County at Seymour.

CHUCKEY-DOAK

Chuckey-Doak, which posted a 4-16 record in 2019, is fairly deep on the mound.

Senior right-hander Mathew Palazzo has been one of the Black Knights’ go-to arms the past two years.

Coach Jimmy Willett says junior righty Wade Fletcher has greatly improved on the mound. Junior righty Jaylen Willett has thrown a lot of innings since he was a freshman, and righty Connor Lamons will also be counted on for innings.

Senior Hunter Ball, sophomore Cadin Tullock and junior Cole Lamons should play large roles in the offense. Willett batted .350 as a freshman in 2019.

“We have to have good approaches from our big bats at the plate,” Jimmy Willett said.

Chuckey-Doak opens its season on Monday at Sullivan North.

SOUTH GREENE

The Rebels were 2-1 when the season was stopped a year ago, and they were 10-17 overall and 6-6 in District 2-2A in 2019.

South Greene’s pitching staff will be anchored by junior right-handers Hayden Hartman, Nathan Lisenby and Jesse Lawing.

Junior Isaac Collins, who batted .300 as the designated hitter in 2019, is South Greene’s top returning bat. The Rebels will also look for offensive production from Hartman and Lisenby.

South Greene will host University High in its season opener on Monday.

WEST GREENE

The Buffaloes were 2-2 when play was stopped last season, and they were 8-15 overall and 3-9 in District 2-2A in 2019.

Senior right-handers Allen Vaughn and Trey Tweed will lead the pitching staff, while freshman righty Mason McCamey will also see time on the mound.

Junior infielder/pitcher Keith Valentine led West Greene with a .383 batting average with 23 hits as a freshman in 2019.

Speedy senior outfielder Bailey McIntyre, who batted .306 overall in 2019 and well over .400 the final four weeks, returns to the batting order. Senior Kenton Cobble should also provide punch at the plate.

West Greene travels to Unicoi County on Monday for its season opener.

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