By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
The famous quote Dont look back, something might be gaining on you, was made famous by Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. Johnson Countys Nick Whitener is taking it to heart.
The uprising junior is spending his entire summer playing travel league baseball. And hes not looking back or regretting a minute of it.
Whitener plays for the Tennessee Cobras out of Johnson City. He also fills in for RBI Tri-Cities in addition to playing for Johnson Countys summer high school baseball team.
The smooth swinging lefty is doing all he can to step up his game. Thats means giving up much of his free time during the summer.
I dont mind it because I love baseball, said Whitener. Ive already played about 25 games and I hope to play a lot more.
So far Whitener has performed in Atlanta, Knoxville, Asheville, Pigeon Forge and ETSUs Thomas Stadium. Hell leave for Columbia, South Carolina on July 4th to take part in a three-day tournament there.
Travel baseball has given me a chance to play against some good players, added Nick. You get to see the top talents from this area and other places. The competition level allows me to see the areas that I need to improve in. Im working hard to try and step up my game.
Whitener occasionally enjoys a pickup game of basketball but hes devoted his time and passion to Americas favorite pastime sport.
Ive always wanted to play at the next level but Ive got a lot of work to do before I can get there, said Whitener who hit .444 for the Longhorns this season. Ive been in the weight room almost every day trying to get stronger and faster. Im working on my mechanics, trying to develop more power. I feel like Im a much better player now than when the season ended. Im working extra hard hoping to get looked at.
Playing at Johnson County has its advantages and disadvantages.
Head coach Pete Pavusek is a mastermind when it comes to teaching the game. Playing for him and Nicks dad (Jerry) is a positive. But you also have to battle the elements.
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