BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is CJ Henley, a rising senior baseball player at Tennessee High School.
These guys are happy to be back.
“Everybody in the program is interested and signed up to play,” Tennessee High head baseball coach Preston Roberts said.
The East Tennessee High School Baseball League started this week, and Tennessee High is one of many schools thrilled to be out there.
“Where we got our spring taken away from us, this is a lot of excitement a lot of buzz where people are hungry for baseball players fans coaches everybody the community I think it’s gonna be a really great thing,” Roberts said.
Rising senior CJ Henley is certainly happy to be back.
“I mean I’m definitely excited I get to play with all my guys here I go to school with we go to school together eat lunch together so I’m definitely excited to play with them I just think it’ll be really fun,” Henley said.
Graduating seniors are still able to play, but this is huge for the returning players to get some time on the field.
“I was definitely pumped especially with things not going my way this summer so I was definitely pumped to come out here with my guys and get some baseball in,” Henley said.
Henley was expecting to make a huge jump as a player this spring, before the pandemic canceled all spring sports.
“He’s a shortstop, he’s our lead-off guy sort of our catalyst he’s our spark he brings a lot of energy to our program,” Roberts said.
“You know I’m stepping up to the plate first everyone’s looking at me first guy to see this arm so if I can put together a good at-bat it gives them confidence in what they can do up there,” Henley said.
He’s not the first Henley to wear a Tennessee High uniform.
“He’s actually the 3rd Henley I’ve coached in baseball I’m used to coaching Henleys I coached his two older brothers,” Roberts said.
Peyton and Bryson Henley played for the Vikings as well.
“Me and my best friend Brice would be back here playing wall ball and we’d hear their walk-up songs so we knew they were coming up to bat so we’d run up and watch them play so I always dreamed about being on this field,” Henley said.
It’s not quite the same this spring, it’s not official high school baseball, but he’s still treasuring the experience.
“Really excited to throw the Viking uniform on I didn’t get to do it enough this season so definitely excited to do it all summer and work with my guys build the relationships and get ready for next year,” Henley said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.