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Born with a stutter in his voice, Greg Lucas has done nothing so far this summer season to show he is sputtered on the baseball diamond.
The Post 48 pitcher and first baseman has stepped up when his team needed him the most and became a quiet leader on the Hickory squad.
Lucas has battled stuttering from a very early age.
When he was 10-12 years old, Lucas made several visits to the neurologist to look deeper at the issue and try to remedy it.
âIâve had it all my life,â Lucas said of his stuttering. âI was born with it. I started talking one day and started pausing. I went to three different brain doctors for it. They said when I talk that the airflow through my brain gets cut off. It just causes a pause in the speech.â
Made fun of as a kid, Lucas turned to the baseball diamond for solace.
âWhen Iâm on the field, I donât really think about (stuttering) at all,â Lucas said. âWhen I play baseball, my stuttering just gets blocked out because Iâm in fight mode and ready to play.â
As he grew up, the stuttering became less of an issue to his classmates, and he even accepted the trait.
âIt gets the girls,â Lucas joked. âThey think itâs cute.â
This summer has been Lucasâ first season playing American Legion baseball.
The experience has been both interesting and exciting.
âWeâve all played against each other our whole lives,â Lucas said of his teammates. âSome kids are from St. Stephens. Some are from Hickory. Some are from Bunker Hill. Itâs good to finally play with them. This team is going to be around. Weâre going to be a challenge in the playoffs.â
Post 48 coach Fore Rembert said Lucasâ teammates have embraced the St. Stephens grad.
âWe donât think anything of his stuttering,â Rembert said. âWe all have our little quirks, but the little idiosyncrasies that we all have in life are what make us all so unique. I taught special education for a long time and saw a lot of that with those kids. Thatâs what makes us all special is our individualism. Everyone is not the same. He is just one of those kids that I really, really enjoy coaching on this team.â
While he may be a first-year player, Lucas has immerged as a silent leader for Post 48.
After Hickory used nearly all of its pitching staff in a 23-16 win against Waynesville on May 29, Lucas was called on to pitch the next day against Rutherford County.
He helped his team by going the full nine innings of that game, allowing five hits, no earned runs, two walks and striking out four Rutherford County batters in an 8-4 victory.
Not limiting his play to the mound, Lucas has also spent a few games this season patrolling first base.
âGregâs number one role on our team is obviously pitching,â Rembert said. âHe knows that. When we need him to step in and fill the void as a hitter or a first baseman, heâs been more than willing to go in there and do that. Heâs done a very good job of that. He is a very good defensive first baseman. He takes a lot of pride in that position. He asks questions. Do I need to hold him on first base? Can I play behind him? He doesnât leave any stone unturned. He understands baseball and that is what makes it even better to coach a kid like Greg.â
Lucas even uses his stuttering to his advantage against his opponents.
âItâs an edge,â he said. âPlayers look at me as a kid that stutters, but when they come up to the plate, I strike them out. I get a good feeling.â
Lucas will attend Catawba Valley Community College this fall, but before that, he has several goals heâd like to achieve.
âMy personal goal is to get a scholarship and win a state championship,â he said. âThatâs the whole teamâs goal.â
His goal outside of baseball is to pursue a degree in Business Management and continue his familyâs tradition of owning Mister Tuxedo in Hickory.
Itâs a goal Rembert believes Lucas will achieve â and then some.
âGreg is a very good kid,â Rembert said. âHe shows up early. He leaves late. He wants to be a part of this team as much as anybody. He wants to succeed as much as anybody. I think not only will he in baseball, but he will in life. Heâs got great parents. They are very supportive of him. His coaches are supportive of him. His teachers are. They think the world of him. Heâs got a great life ahead of him if heâll keep working hard and staying focused.âView more articles in: