High School Sports

Villines' giant dream

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CORRECTION

The Durham Bulls' leader in career pitching victories was incorrect in a story on Page 5C Wednesday. The Bulls' career victory leader is Joe Caviness, who had 97 wins from 1920 through 1927.

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Kenneth Villines grabbed his first baseball bat when he was 3 months old.

His grandmother, Janet Neville, handed him the bat and began Villines' education about his grandfather, Eddie Neville.

"I've heard about him my whole life," said Villines, who goes by his middle name Kahlin. "He died before I was born, but he has been an inspiration to me.

"It has been my dream to play professional baseball my entire life."

Neville is the Durham Bulls' all-time winningest pitcher with a 75-38 record over four seasons (1949 and 1952-54). He was a Carolina League all-star in 1949, 1952 and 1953. His overall minor league record was 134-80.

The elevator at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park has his picture and a plaque dedicated to him is outside the stadium.

Villines was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 45th round, 1,346th overall, of last week's Major League Baseball first-year player draft.

He hit .396 with eight home runs at Durham Riverside this spring. He sees being drafted as a victory for players who are sometimes overlooked.

"It is expensive to travel around to all the tryouts and to play on a travel team. I could never afford to do that," he said.

"A lot of those guys have personal trainers. I couldn't afford that either. I always felt I had to work that much harder."

Villines expects to meet with a Giants representative this week.

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