Green Hope finished last season as the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A baseball runner-up, but senior Austen Jones says the Falcons approach each game as if they are a last-place team.
“We obviously know about last year, but we have to come ready to play every game,” Jones said. “We want to pitch, play defense and bring it with our bats.”
Jones is batting .308, good for fourth on the team as the Falcons struggle to manufacture runs. Jones said he’s playing like this is his last season of organized baseball.
“I’m going to Appalachian State for academics,” he said, “but if any schools (want to recruit me), I’m interested.”
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Juniors Jordyn Adams, a newcomer who transferred from South Carolina, and Connor Knapp, a returning N&O All-Metro pick, help the Falcons on the base paths. They’ve combined for 17 stolen bases.
“Everybody is playing aggressively,” Jones said. “We have good chemistry on this team. We like to practice together.”
To make another deep run in the state playoffs, Green Hope (9-5, 6-4 Southwest Wake 4A) needs pitching. The hope is that the hitting will eventually come around.
Campbell recruit Jordan Montgomery leads the team with a 1.36 ERA, but coach Mike Miragliuolo thinks he might have another special arm developing with the work of freshman Liam Norris. The 6-3, 200-pound left-hander is 3-2 in six starts with a 1.75 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 28 innings.
“He has a variety of pitches,” Miragliuolo said. “He’s a freshman, but he’s a mature pitcher.”