Hagerty High School tallied their fourth district title in five years and will host Celebration in the regional quarterfinal.
Leading the way for Hagerty was senior Riley Greene, who went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a single, clinching the Class 8A District 9 championship.
Greene is committed to the University of Florida but is projected as a first-round pick in June’s MLB Draft.
Hagerty coach Matt Cleveland admits it’s hard to quantify the impact Greene’s had on the program over the last four years. “He has set so many records — done so many things on the field to set himself apart, but his leadership and example are the most important,” Cleveland said.
“Riley shows up every day with a smile on his face ready to go to work, ready to pull a tarp, he’s the first one to offer to do anything we need to be done.
“That’s not normal human nature for someone in his position, but he’s not normal, he is special in just about every way.”
Hagerty coach’s early impressions
While most toddlers were learning to ride a tricycle or climb trees, Greene’s father introduced him to America’s Pastime.
Greene began playing baseball when he was just three years old, and his earliest recollections of the game are playing rec ball with many of his friends.
“I played for the Oviedo Outlaws when I was younger and I played for FTB through high school,” Greene said. “I think what makes me such a talented player is that I’m always in the gym working out.”
As for Coach Cleveland, he first met Greene in September 2016, soon after he accepted the coaching job at Hagerty.
He initially caught a glimpse of the youngster the summer before Greene’s freshman year, when Cleveland was on the other side of the field coaching a travel game against him. “He [Greene] hit four doubles that game, two to right center, and two to left center,” Cleveland described.
“I still have never seen anything like that from a 14-year-old. No doubt, we all knew he was special right then.”
First round talent
Seminole County is home to two potential first-round 2019 MLB Draft picks, Greene, and Seminole High School pitcher Matthew Allan, both of whom are Florida Gator signees.
Dylan Crews of Lake Mary High has the potential to be called within the first three picks in next year’s draft.
“This area, in my opinion, is one of the best areas for high school baseball,” Greene noted. “A lot of well coached and talented teams.
“Matt and I are really good friends. We have known each other for a while, and we were roommates at the Under Armour All-American Game.”
Greene didn’t consider any other schools in the recruiting process as the University of Florida has long been his dream school.
It also didn’t hurt that the Gators have one of the most successful baseball programs in one of the most challenging conferences (SEC), year in and year out.
Perfect Game writes that Greene has one of the top swings in the 2019 class.
Outstanding athletic body, long and strong with plenty of room to continue to fill out. Left-handed hitter, has a very fluid and easy swing with outstanding present bat speed, advanced balance
andability to square up the baseball, shows power to all fields, looks effortless doing it, sees the ball extremely well and will put up big walk totals in the future.
An extremely high ceiling
Coach Matt Cleveland compares Greene’s game to that of San Diego Padres first basemen Eric Hosmer, who he watched grow up in South Florida.
“His ceiling is very high as a player,” Cleveland said. “His swing is one that can hit for average and power at the highest level.
“I believe one day he has the potential to be an All-Star in the major leagues. Right now though, he is focused on trying to win games for us in high school and getting ready to go to UF.”
When all is said and done, Greene wants people to say, ‘that he was a good player, but an even better person.’
He added that he would tell fellow athletes to enjoy their four years in high school because it’s gone before you know it. As for Cleveland, he will most remember the kind of human being Greene is. “We’ve had some funny stories, but mostly moments where I just shake my head and ask if it is possible to hit a ball that hard or far,” Cleveland said.
“Above all of that, I will remember most, what a great kid he is and what a great role model he is.”
Hagerty, which boasts a record of 23-4, will host Celebration in Wednesday’s regional quarterfinal.
- Seminole High’s Charlie McDaniel pitches school into history books
- Hagerty High’s Riley Greene selected fifth overall by Tigers
- Seminole High Baseball back in state semifinals for first time since 1992
- Hagerty senior Riley Greene leads Huskies into the postseason
- Dylan Crews: Lake Mary star that models his game after Mike Trout