Earned run

Freshman Riley Greene commits to University of Florida

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photo by Alan Greene

Freshman Riley Greene pitches for his eighth grade travel team, the Oviedo Outlaws. Greene pitched the most innings and strikeouts that year and is the only Outlaw to be already committed.

Justin Baronoff, Staff Reporter

For high school freshmen, the word “college” does not come to mind often. However, freshman Riley Greene’s college is already set, as he committed to the University of Florida for baseball on Thursday, Sept. 24, making him the first Florida commit to be offered for baseball during the fall of their freshman year.

Greene has been playing baseball since he was three years old. In middle school, Greene played for the Oviedo Outlaws travel team. This past August, Florida decided to recruit Greene after seeing his performance at a tryout for his present team, Florida Travel Ball. According to prepbaseballreport.com, Greene has average a 74mph fastball, impressive for his age, and a quick bat speed of 80mph over the course of his games with FTB.

“After the tryout, Coach [Jered] Goodwin, who is also the varsity head coach here, told me about the offer from UF and in that moment it was so surreal,” Greene said.

One individual that helped Greene achieve his goal of committing to his dream school was his father, Alan Greene.

“He would push me a lot when I was younger,” Greene said. “We would work on everything every single day and it definitely paid off.”

Greene is only the third baseball player in school history to commit to a college before their first high school game. Pitcher Travis Hosterman committed to Central Florida before his first game, while Ryan Mountcastle, who graduated last year, also committed to Central Florida, but decided to forego college after he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the Major League Baseball draft this past summer.

“It’s a lot of pressure to carry around with you to say that you’re already committed, but I think Riley will be able to manage the pressure just fine,” Hosterman said.

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Freshman Riley Greene hits a double with his current travel ball team, Florida Travel Ball. He joined the team this past August.

Goodwin was involved in the entire process with Greene’s commitment to Florida, as he is friends with the head coach at Florida, Kevin O’Sullivan. Goodwin also knew Greene when he was in middle school, after visiting Goodwin’s summer youth camps for three years.

“Riley has all the physical tools you look for in a young player and his work ethic has been very good in practice with the JV team,” Goodwin said. “He just has that passion for the game that could make him a leader for this team, as leader as his high school years continue.”

Although Greene has been practicing with the junior varsity team, some players on varsity have taken notice of his attributes.

“I would consider him more of a triple-threat player,” first baseman Britt Crawford said. He can pitch, hit and field very well and we’re all happy for him.”

Even though spring is not close, the varsity team will have a lot of returning experience that has won back-to-back district titles. Goodwin is in his ninth year as head coach and in that tenure, eight players have made varsity as a freshman.

“Riley has the chance to follow in a long line of great players,” Goodwin said. “Right now I just want what’s best for him and developing chemistry with the younger players, including him, will be the key this offseason.”

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