JOHNSON CITY – Technically, Colton Richards hasn’t started his baseball career at Greeneville High School.
But if the rising freshman continues to pitch like he has this summer, he very well might find himself logging meaningful innings on the mound for Greeneville in the spring.
In a 7-1 loss to David Crockett in the East Tennessee High School Baseball League at the Johnson City Cardinals stadium on Thursday, Richards was a bright spot for Greeneville.
Taking the mound at the outset of the fifth inning, Richards tossed two perfect frames, striking out the first three batters he faced.
It’s the third solid outing Richards has had for Greeneville this summer. In four innings of relief, he’s given up no hits, walked two and struck out five.
“The work we’ve been putting in this summer has been outstanding. All these guys out here coming to the field, giving it their all,” Richards said. “We have a lot of guys who can do a lot for this team and I just want to be part of it.
“Expectations for next year? I feel like we can do something cool. I feel like we have a good group here.”
Richards is coming to Greeneville High after being the No. 1 starter at Greeneville Middle School.
“I love the challenge up on the mound,” Richards said. “I like being that guy who comes out there and does what he has to do to get it done. I like being put in situations. I feel like I’m needed when they put me in. And I feel honored to be out here, man.”
Rising senior catcher Adrian Bundy was behind the plate, calling pitches for Richards on Thursday.
“Colton’s doing a good job controlling his pitches, keeping the ball down, working both sides of the plate with a cutter/slider that has late life,” Bundy said. “He’s very young, obviously, and this is high school baseball, so things aren’t always going to be as easy as he’s making it look right now. But he’s been fun to watch and he’s a guy who looks like he’ll be able to help the program down the road.”
Richards’ brother, Hunter, is a rising senior who has also been lights out this summer and figures to be in the starting rotation in the spring.
In six innings in the summer league, Hunter has allowed just two hits, walked none and struck out 10.
“He supports me a lot more than some people might think just because we’re brothers,” Colton said with a smile. “Our dad has talked about whenever he played with his brothers on a team, instead of trying to be negative, we should be positive with each other.
“We have something good going on right now, and we’re just helping each other out. It’s great.”
Another bright spot for Greeneville on Thursday was the play of rising junior Ty Casteel, who doubled to the right-field corner and scored on an error in the bottom of the sixth inning for the team’s lone run.
“The double felt good off the bat,” Casteel said. “As soon as I saw the ball get past (the right fielder), I knew I could get two.”
Casteel also displayed a good glove at first base, picking a bad throw off the turf for an out, backhanding a ground ball for an out and catching a pop up near the fence in foul territory for another out.
“That pick was pretty hard,” said Casteel, normally a backup catcher. “He threw it outside a little bit and I had to stretch out there a little bit for it.
“It’s been a while since I’ve played first base, but I’ve been working on it a little bit in practice and stuff.”
Rising senior Ayden Cheney went 2-for-3 with a triple for Greeneville, while rising sophomore Parker Shipley had a single.
Cheney drew the start on the mound and took the loss. In four innings, he gave up five hits, four runs, walked one and struck out five.
Rising freshman Eli House pitched a scoreless seventh for Greeneville, giving up a hit.
For David Crockett, Garrett Leonard was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Caleb Bradburn and Dakota Stout each went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
Tyler Hensley drew the start on the mound for David Crockett and worked four scoreless innings for the win. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out four.
Greeneville, now 3-2 in the summer league, will play John S. Battle High out of Virginia at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Cardinals stadium. Admission is $5.