March 22, 2012
Green brothers experiencing success on the diamond
Updated March 26, 2012
By David Boyce
At some point in Northwest Missouri State’s upcoming home baseball series against Missouri Southern, senior pitcher Chris Green will likely deliver a pitch to junior catcher Travis Green.
Chris Green, who spent last season recovering from elbow surgery, is the ace on the Bearcats pitching staff. He is 2-2 and definitely has the talent and experience to win more games than he loses.
“He’s a machine,” said younger brother Travis on how Chris has battled back from injury. “I am very proud of him at what he has accomplished.”
Chris is equally proud of Travis and how he’s handling his first season at Northwest.
A year ago, Travis played at North Central Missouri Community College where he batted .255 with a team-leading 25 RBIs.
Travis is hitting better this season. He has started 13 or Northwest’s 20 games and is hitting a robust .302 with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs.
“It is always nice to know some people so you have that team chemistry right away,” Chris said. “You can jump right into working on the fundamentals of baseball. I think it helps him a little bit.”
This brotherly bond on the baseball diamond is something their father, Mike Green probably envisioned many years ago when he introduced his sons to the game when they were 4 years old.
Chris was going to be the pitcher and Travis would catch him. The Green brothers have played on the same team four or five times during their life.
“My dad always wanted me to be a catcher, but it wasn’t until high school that I really got behind the plate,” Travis said. “I guess he did kind of groom us to be catcher and pitcher.”
This season opportunity came about partly because Chris had to sit out last year to recover from elbow surgery.
Chris is thrilled he has his brother catching him one more season.
“It is awesome,” he said. “We have such good chemistry. He knows what I want to throw. He knows when I’m in a bad groove. He will call a timeout and talk to me and stuff like that. He helps me stay on track.”
A good catcher knows the strength and weaknesses of all the pitchers he handles. Still, it is naturally a little different for Travis every time he catches his brother.
“It is a pretty emotional experience,” he said. “I don’t know quite how to explain it. It is different from catching anybody else. It seems like there is more on the line. He has a presence on the mound. His attitude is probably his biggest strength. He’s a competitor.”
One thing the Green brothers want to do is help the Bearcats reach the MIAA Tournament.
Northwest suffered a setback March 16-18 when it dropped all four games to Central Missouri, the No. 1-ranked team in NCAA Division II.
A couple of games could have gone either way. The Bearcats lost the third game 3-1 and the fourth game 8-6.
“It is definitely encouraging, but it is hard to take anything from it,” Travis said. “You always want to win. A loss is a loss. I don’t like taking a moral victory from a loss.”
Chris added that it comes down to preparation.
“In those games against Central, we didn’t do what it took during the week to get us over the hump to win one or two games,” he said. “I think if we prepare better, we should be in most of those games. We will win a lot. Hopefully, we will finish in the top three in conference.”
The Bearcats can’t afford to slip further behind the leaders. The top six teams advance to the conference tournament. Northwest currently sits in ninth place.
“It is nice now that we can compare ourselves to the top teams,” Chris said. “We know where the top teams are at and we are not too far behind and we haven’t played our best baseball.
“Hopefully, we can get the ball rolling with the series coming up and get into the tournament and then we will be a completely different team.”
The March 23-25 series against Missouri Southern had added meaning for the Green brothers. They live in Joplin and know some of the players on Missouri Southern.
Chris even played his freshman season at Missouri Southern. In 2008, he played in 11 games for the Lions, started two games and went 2-0.
“It is where my brother and I come from,” Travis said. “We know a lot of people there. It is obviously big to win in conference, but it is kind of a personal thing. You always want to play well against people you know.”
Chris and Travis were home when the devastating tornado struck Joplin last spring.
“We were on our front porch when we saw the rain and the wind swirling. We decided to go to the basement,” Travis said. “Our house was about a block and a half away from the actual line of destruction.
“Not even 10 minutes after it happened we were out but it was awhile before we knew how bad it was. You hear sirens all the time, but you don’t think much about it.
“Everybody in Joplin is amazing. There was a time we were out trying to help and they said there were too many volunteers.”
Baseball will be the focus for the Greens this weekend. They want to help each other succeed and help the Bearcats win.
“I’m always deeply involved in the game,” Chris said. “When he comes up, I have a little more cheer in me. I like to see him do well.”
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