Gentry signs with Motlow State baseball

Friday, May 5, 2017
Marshall County High Schoolís Brayden is flanked by his father Eric Gentry and mother Betsy Gentry as he signs a Letter of Intent to play baseball next season at Motlow State Community College. Back row from left are, MCHS Athletic Director/Assistant Coach Kevin McGehee, Motlow Assistant Coach Cody Gaskill, MCHS Baseball Head Coach Monk Reese and MCHS Assistant Coach Wesley Hickman.
Photo submitted

Marshall County High School continued its long tradition of sending players into the college ranks last week when senior pitcher Brayden Gentry signed on the dotted line to play baseball at Motlow State Community College in the 2018 season.

"We have been very successful at getting players ready to play at the next level in the past 40 years," Tiger coach Mike "Monk" Reese stated. "I have forgotten how many players have played at the next level, but there have been many."

Gentry, who was also recruited by Middle Tennessee State University and the University of North Alabama, stood out in a district loaded with talent and which produced last seasonís 2A state champion (Spring Hill) and state runner-up (CPA) while helping the Tigers win over 58 games over the past four seasons.

"Brayden has been a good player for us all four years," Reese continued. "He has developed his pitching skills from one level to the next each year. I feel like he can take his pitching skills and be very successful at the next level."

"He is a very fine young man and his family has done a great job," Reese added. "I'm looking forward to seeing him start his next walk of life."

Motlow State, located just 35 miles from Lewisburg, is home to 5,000 plus students and fields a baseball team that has been historically successful since the program started in 1970.

The 2000 Bucks squad lost in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship game and advanced to the East Central District Tournament for the first time since 2000 under current head coach Dan McShea.

The Bucks have also had individual success on the diamond with three players (John Stefero 83-87, David Weathers 91-09, Bryan Morris 2012-current), making major league rosters straight from Motlow State.

"I chose Motlow because I can go there and better myself," Gentry said. "Their program is just all around a good one. It seems to me they just have everything that I need there to better myself."

"I expect to go to Motlow and get stronger and to really focus on pitching and making new friends," Gentry added.

After winning two games in 2016 and leading Marshall County in innings pitched, strikeouts, strikeouts per game, total strikes and a 3.66 earned run average the Tiger ace started out slow while recovering from a shoulder injury but hit stride in time to lead the Tigers to a seven game mid-season winning streak and lock up a fourth place finish in the rough and tumble district 12AA.

"My senior year has been a good one," Gentry said. "After missing four games due to my shoulder injury I came back wanting to leave it all out there on the field and I feel like I have done so."

And like most other athletes that have the chance to play at the next level, Gentry realizes that more goes into the opportunity than just talent.

"It takes heart," Gentry explained. "You can't expect to just go play games and be able to play as well as others. You have to put in the time during the off season. Weightlifting and practicing the game is how you will be successful and I am thankful that I have this opportunity."

Gentry will not be alone in his journey into college baseball as former Marshall County teammate Lane Whitesell will be entering his sophomore season after finishing fourth on the team in home runs (4) and sixth on the team in RBI (16) despite finishing ninth on the squad in at bats.

Whitesell also pitched in four games and led the team with a 1.93 ERA.

With two hometown boys playing in the college ranks next season, Gentry is quick to give a shout out to Lewisburg and offer advice for his younger teammates who hope to follow in his footsteps.

"It means the world to me (to represent Lewisburg)," Gentry stated. "My hometown has been very supportive and really pushed me to do my best."

"I would tell my teammates to give it their all and to work hard," Gentry added. "I want to see them all succeed in whatever it may be. I have a lot of faith in my teammates that they will do their best."