Valdosta Daily Times

June 21, 2011

Honoring Larry Greene

Berrien baseball star recognized by his local community

Christian Malone
The Valdosta Daily Times

NASHVILLE — Monday evening, the Nashville community showed its support for Larry Greene.

Greene, who had a memorable baseball career at Berrien High School and was recently drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft, was honored at a community celebration Monday at Dr. Frank Carter Field.

Several presentations were made to Greene, including a key to the city and a proclamation, and a large crowd showed up to help honor him.

“It means a lot to me. It shows me the community’s behind me, and they’ve supported me and my family through this,” Greene said. “It’s a blessing.”

Greene has lived in Nashville his entire life, and said his hometown is a special place to him.

“I want to thank the community for supporting us,” his father, Larry Greene Sr., said.

Nashville mayor Travis Harper made a proclamation recognizing Greene, and gave him a key to the city. The Berrien County Parks and Recreation Department gave plaques to Greene and his father to recognize them for all they’ve done.

The Berrien County Chamber of Commerce gave Greene a bag of gifts from different merchants in the area, including several gift certificates, an mp3 player and a year’s supply of fudge. Side Street Dogs named a hot dog after Greene, while another restaurant, Brown Bag, named a sandwich the Larry Greene Philly Steak and Cheese, since he was drafted by Philadelphia.

“That’s nice, real nice,” Greene said.

After the presentations, Greene grabbed his bat and put on a hitting display for the crowd. With his dad and Berrien coach Doug Nix pitching to him, Greene initially hit primarily line drives to right field. But then he started hitting home runs. At one point, he hit seven straight balls over the fence. Many of his homers were tape measure shots, too, sailing well over the fence. One ball landed on the field house at Berrien’s football field; another one completely cleared it and landed on the field.

“He put on a show, like he always does,” Nix said.

After putting on his hitting display, Greene signed autographs for everyone who wanted one. Fans received baseballs that they could get Greene to sign.

Greene and his father both wore Phillies shirts and hats during the ceremony.

Greene had one of the greatest baseball careers in Berrien High history. He holds every major offensive record at Berrien. He was a four-year starter, a four-time All-Region selection and was also an All-State selection. He was the Region 1-AA Offensive Player of the Year in 2010 (a year in which three players from the region — Kaleb Cowart and D.J. Johnson of Cook and Aaron Shipman of Brooks County — were drafted by Major League teams) and was chosen the Region Player of the Year in 2011. He played in the Aflac All-American Game last summer in San Diego.

In four years at Berrien, Greene batted .495 with 42 home runs and 155 runs batted in. He also had 35 doubles, 11 triples, scored 184 runs, stole 53 bases and collected 123 walks (24 of them intentional).

He loves playing the game.

“It’s a blessing to be able to play baseball,” Greene said.

“He played the game right,” Nix said. “He got after it, he hustled and he was a team player. He wasn’t about Larry Greene, he was about Berrien County baseball. He’s always been that way, and he’ll always be that way.”

On June 6, the Phillies selected Greene with the 39th overall pick in the Major League draft, during the supplemental portion of the first round.

“I was surprised at first,” Greene said. “I’m glad they picked me.”

“We’re excited. We’re ready to get him started,” Larry Greene Sr. said. “I’m very proud of him. He works hard, and he deserves it. The Good Lord has looked out for him.”

There were a lot of children in attendance on Monday. Nix said Greene loves children, and has been a great role model for them. Greene had a message for the kids.

“Dream big,” he said.