Mason Nesbitt: The Hunter Greene experience

By Mason Nesbitt

Last update: Friday, April 7th, 2017

Liz Moore parked, then sauntered inside Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Sherman Oaks on Friday night.

The senior-aged Woodland Hills resident had never attended a high school baseball game before, so she wasn’t sure what to expect. She didn’t expect this.

Fifteen minutes before game time between Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks and Alemany High of Mission Hills, all 176 stadium-style seats supported a body or an article of clothing.

Shortly after first pitch, fans stood two-deep on both platforms raised behind the respective dugouts.

Children sat in the aisles.

Moore clambered up a set of stairs along the third baseline and leaned against a railing, the field still perfectly in view.

“My friend asked me, “Where are you going?” she says.

She’d come to see the kid she’d read about. The one she’d heard hit a 400-foot home run.

She’d come —like many in the crowd of parents, fans and scouts — to see Stevenson Ranch resident Hunter Greene, a Notre Dame senior and a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in June’s Major League Baseball draft.

Greene didn’t disappoint.

Stevenson Ranch resident and Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) pitcher Hunter Greene throws a pitch during a baseball game against Bishop Alemany in Sherman Oaks on Friday, April 7, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The righty, who grew up playing baseball at the Hart complex in Santa Clarita, struck out 13 batters in a 2-1 complete-game game win.

He wowed with a fastball that registered from 94 to 100 mph, and pulled the string on a breathtaking slider. He showed little emotion, his teammates mirroring his quiet, almost majestic, confidence.

Alemany, a far more boisterous bunch, managed to string a couple hits together in the fourth inning to plate a run (and momentarily tie the score 1-1), but Notre Dame retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Then Greene struck out the side in the seventh to seal a three-game sweep of the Warriors.

“Coming through the fifth, sixth, seventh innings, I was definitely getting stronger,” Greene said.

ESPN Senior Writer Keith Law agreed.

“I thought he was electric,” Law said afterward outside the stadium, standing among gaggles of fans not ready to go home.

Notre Dame coach Tom Dill said Friday night games have always drawn bigger crowds since Marine Corps stadium opened a few years ago.

Greene, though, adds another element.

“It’s obviously a little different with all the cameras and Sports Illustrated and all these folks here,” Dill said. “It’s special with Hunter for sure.”

And special for those who play against him. Someday, former opponents may turn on their TV and brag to friends they batted against Greene.

Greene, however, has said on multiple occasions he’s living in the now, aiming to enjoy his final prep season. Friday he basked in an atmosphere not every high-schooler gets to experience.

Stevenson Ranch resident and Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) pitcher Hunter Greene throws a pitch during a baseball game against Bishop Alemany in Sherman Oaks on Friday, April 7, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

“We have such a great environment and atmosphere,” Greene said. “This is special, to be 17 years old and for other guys to experience it too, being 16, 15 years old, coming out there every Friday, every home game (and experiencing this).”

Watching Greene back pedal to the dugout after recording the final out in the first inning, high-fiving each teammate as they jogged off, you got the sense he meant it. That he does care about the guys around him and not just lighting up the radar gun.

Young fans lined up outside Notre Dame’s locker room after the game for autographs. A boy darted off in excitement holding a signed poster.

Moore, too, left satisfied.

“Oh, yeah,” she says. “These guys are good.”

Law, ESPN’s resident baseball prospect expert, said he’d be returning to watch Greene again in a few weeks.

“Why not,” he said. “It’s pretty fun.”

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Mason Nesbitt: The Hunter Greene experience

Stevenson Ranch resident and Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) pitcher Hunter Greene jogs off the field after an out during a baseball game against Bishop Alemany in Sherman Oaks on Friday, April 7, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Liz Moore parked, then sauntered inside Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Sherman Oaks on Friday night.

The senior-aged Woodland Hills resident had never attended a high school baseball game before, so she wasn’t sure what to expect. She didn’t expect this.

Fifteen minutes before game time between Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks and Alemany High of Mission Hills, all 176 stadium-style seats supported a body or an article of clothing.

Shortly after first pitch, fans stood two-deep on both platforms raised behind the respective dugouts.

Children sat in the aisles.

Moore clambered up a set of stairs along the third baseline and leaned against a railing, the field still perfectly in view.

“My friend asked me, “Where are you going?” she says.

She’d come to see the kid she’d read about. The one she’d heard hit a 400-foot home run.

She’d come —like many in the crowd of parents, fans and scouts — to see Stevenson Ranch resident Hunter Greene, a Notre Dame senior and a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in June’s Major League Baseball draft.

Greene didn’t disappoint.

Stevenson Ranch resident and Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) pitcher Hunter Greene throws a pitch during a baseball game against Bishop Alemany in Sherman Oaks on Friday, April 7, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The righty, who grew up playing baseball at the Hart complex in Santa Clarita, struck out 13 batters in a 2-1 complete-game game win.

He wowed with a fastball that registered from 94 to 100 mph, and pulled the string on a breathtaking slider. He showed little emotion, his teammates mirroring his quiet, almost majestic, confidence.

Alemany, a far more boisterous bunch, managed to string a couple hits together in the fourth inning to plate a run (and momentarily tie the score 1-1), but Notre Dame retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Then Greene struck out the side in the seventh to seal a three-game sweep of the Warriors.

“Coming through the fifth, sixth, seventh innings, I was definitely getting stronger,” Greene said.

ESPN Senior Writer Keith Law agreed.

“I thought he was electric,” Law said afterward outside the stadium, standing among gaggles of fans not ready to go home.

Notre Dame coach Tom Dill said Friday night games have always drawn bigger crowds since Marine Corps stadium opened a few years ago.

Greene, though, adds another element.

“It’s obviously a little different with all the cameras and Sports Illustrated and all these folks here,” Dill said. “It’s special with Hunter for sure.”

And special for those who play against him. Someday, former opponents may turn on their TV and brag to friends they batted against Greene.

Greene, however, has said on multiple occasions he’s living in the now, aiming to enjoy his final prep season. Friday he basked in an atmosphere not every high-schooler gets to experience.

Stevenson Ranch resident and Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) pitcher Hunter Greene throws a pitch during a baseball game against Bishop Alemany in Sherman Oaks on Friday, April 7, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

“We have such a great environment and atmosphere,” Greene said. “This is special, to be 17 years old and for other guys to experience it too, being 16, 15 years old, coming out there every Friday, every home game (and experiencing this).”

Watching Greene back pedal to the dugout after recording the final out in the first inning, high-fiving each teammate as they jogged off, you got the sense he meant it. That he does care about the guys around him and not just lighting up the radar gun.

Young fans lined up outside Notre Dame’s locker room after the game for autographs. A boy darted off in excitement holding a signed poster.

Moore, too, left satisfied.

“Oh, yeah,” she says. “These guys are good.”

Law, ESPN’s resident baseball prospect expert, said he’d be returning to watch Greene again in a few weeks.

“Why not,” he said. “It’s pretty fun.”

About the author

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt is The Santa Clarita Valley Signal's Sports Editor.

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt is The Santa Clarita Valley Signal's Sports Editor.