Making his way

South Carroll's Matt Greene used to be known mainly as the little brother of a star player, but he's gained respect in his own right


April 01, 2007|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Reporter

Matt Greene wanted to follow in brother Corey's footsteps when it came to playing baseball, but he didn't want to take on his brother's identity. It just took him a little while to develop his own.

"Growing up with Corey has always been a competition of people comparing us to each other and all that," said Matt, a senior shortstop for South Carroll. "Kids were always saying, `Hey, Little Corey,' and all that. My freshman year I was always called Corey. But I just tried to make my own identity, be my own person, and show people what Matt Greene could do."

He seemed to accomplish that last season. Greene, who is 5 feet 8, 190 pounds, led Carroll County in hitting with a .500 average. He also had 21 RBIs, three home runs, scored 23 runs and was chosen first-team All-County.

This season he is moving from third to shortstop and is excited about the change. "I'm in control of the infield," he said. "I'll be calling the shots, I guess you can say."

He started in the sport as a tag-along, following Corey, who's now a senior outfielder at Radford, onto the baseball field when he was 5. When Corey was a South Carroll star, Matt was right there near him at every practice and was that "little brother in the middle of things for us," South Carroll coach George Richardson said.

"Matt's been around the baseball program here at South Carroll since his brother joined me as a sophomore," Richardson said. "That was like the sixth grade. He understands what we do really well. He comes from a good family, too."

It's a family that loves and appreciates sports.

"Baseball probably makes him feel like he is following in Corey's footsteps," Matt's mother, Shelia, said. "Baseball is something they both have loved since they were 5 years old."

Said Dale, the boys' father: "They're like twins or bookends. Corey is 5-9 and 205 pounds, which is very close to Matt's size. They have been raised the same way. They have been raised with the thing that sports is a reward for hard work. If you want to be good, you just can't pick up a glove and a bat during the season. You have to do things like conditioning to prepare your body."

Dale Greene, who has been a longtime assistant football coach at South Carroll and coached almost every sport at Liberty during a 23-year career, said both sons are "very strong kids physically" and have been involved with football, baseball and basketball all their lives. Greene said he had hoped that one of his sons might follow him into football at his alma mater, Shepherd College in West Virginia, but he's happy with their choice of baseball.

"Baseball is definitely my passion," Matt said. "I had to make a big decision on baseball and football. But baseball is my sport. During the football season, I'd go up to Larry Sheets [batting cages] and hit all the time. There's where I spend a lot of my time."

Matt had a strong senior season for the Cavaliers' football team, rushing for 700 yards despite missing most of three games with an ankle sprain. He was a second-team All-County running back.

He hasn't made a final decision on college but said he is close to following Corey to Radford.

Corey is also on his mind with regard to his individual goals this season. He wants to hit better than .520 so he can surpass the average Corey posted as a senior, and to be chosen Carroll County Player of the Year, as Corey was in his senior year.

When Richardson was asked to describe the most impressive part of Matt's game, he said, "His hitting."

There were two games last season in which Greene was particularly impressive. He got four hits off Carroll County Player of the Year Robbie Mathias of Liberty, and he was 4-for-4 in a 3-2 victory over Westminster.

Matt attributes some of his success to Corey, who would give him tips on baseball whenever the two would go outside or in the basement to practice.

"He would work on my swing and tell me what I'm doing wrong and things like that," Matt said. "We would always throw together and make each other better, I guess you could say."

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