WHS to honor baseball standouts Greene, Jones
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Watauga's athletic department will be retiring the jerseys of former standouts Johnny Greene and Ryder Jones during a ceremony at halftime of Watauga's boys' basketball game against Wilkes Central Saturday.
Both Greene and Jones played minor league baseball following outstanding careers with Watauga. Greene was an all-Southern Conference player at Western Carolina before being drafted by the Texas Rangers in the eighth round, 260th overall, in 2007.
Greene hit .292 in five seasons in the Texas organization. He finished with 18 home runs, 75 RBI and 29 doubles.
In his senior year at Watauga, Greene hit .561 with 11 home runs, 38 RBI and 19 doubles. He was an All-Northwestern Conference catcher, who also pitched for the Pioneers in 2006.
He went to Western Carolina, where he was an All-Southern Conference third baseman in 2007. Greene also was a preseason second team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
Jones was a second-round draft pick by the San Francisco Giants in the 2013 draft after a stellar season with Watauga. On the mound, Jones finished the season with a 4-3 record and an ERA of 1.23.
He also had 63 strikeouts.
He tied Greene's home run record with 11 and set a new Watauga standard with 43 RBI. He walked 21 times, eight of them intentionally. He scored 31 runs, hit 11 doubles, had a .652 on-base percentage and a .987 slugging percentage.
Jones was also named the Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year, an award that's given in collaboration with USA Today.
Academically, Jones carried a 4.00 weighted GPA his senior year, and was a member of the National Honor Society. He accepted an offer to play at Stanford, but chose to play professionally after being drafted by the Giants.
"One of the things that may have pushed him over the top -- aside from of all his talent and his interest from pro scouts -- was his academics," Watauga coach Pete Hardee said after Jones was awarded the Gatorade Player of the Year. "He's taken a lot of AP classes and it was hard on him because he had to miss a lot of school because of going to different places for workouts, but he did a great job with it."
Watauga's basketball teams host Wilkes Central on Wednesday. The schedule of four games starts at 4 p.m. with the girls' junior varsity basketball team, which is followed by the boys' junior varsity basketball team starting 10 minutes after the girls' game is over.
The two varsity games, starting with the girls' game that starts about 10 minutes after the boys' jayvee game. The boys' varsity game is the last game to be played.