A Long Shot

Wolves slugger will play college baseball despite getting a late start in the game


Published:

Eagle River’s Greg Long prepares to take a cut in a game earlier this season. Long, who graduated from Eagle River High earlier this month, will play college baseball this fall despite only playing the sport since his freshman year of high school.

Star photos by Matt Tunseth

Aside from playing catch with his dad, recent Eagle River High graduate Greg Long had never played baseball until his freshman year.

Next spring, he’ll be playing at the collegiate level.

Long earned a spot on the roster at Briar Cliff University — a Division II National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics program — in Sioux City, Iowa. After sending film of himself to three colleges, Long received an athletic scholarship from Briar Cliff in February.

“I was just really excited,” Long said following the Eagle River American Legion tryouts Sunday, May 20. “I thought I was gonna have to walk on and tryout.”

Eagle River manager Gregg Frost, who’s coached Long his entire career, attributed Long’s rapid development to his insatiable desire for baseball knowledge — and his ability to absorb new information immediately.

“He’s an absolute sponge,” Frost said. “The mental side of the game he picked up quickly.”

Frost has no doubts that Long will rise to the challenge of competing in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.

“I don’t thing he’s gonna stall,” Frost said.

Long, who’s always enjoyed watching baseball, credited his father with getting him on the field.

“My dad challenged me to play,” Long said. “So, I said, ‘OK.’

“I’m glad he did,” Long said.

While being a spectator is great, Long said, nothing compares to competing on the diamond.

“Playing is much more fun,” he said. “It’s more of an emotional game when you’re on the field.”

Long said he likes mental and physical challenges baseball offers.

“It’s not just strategic. It’s not just physical,” he said. “You have to have both.”

Long has just one full year of varsity experience. He started out on JV and was a swing player his sophomore year.

Today, Long is one of Eagle River’s varsity leaders.

“He is the glue of this team,” Frost said.

Long also leads by example off the field, Frost said.

“He’s in the top 10 of all the kids I’ve coached attitude wise,” Frost said. “He’s a super kid.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

Add your comment: