Vines hoping to help EHS take care of unfinished business

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   Joseph Vines has worked since he was five years old to reach his dreams of playing collegiate and professional baseball.
   As the Elizabethton senior prepares to help pitch his team back to the same level they reached last season, and beyond, beginning in this weekend's district tournament, the fruits of his labor may soon come to pass as he is being looked at by quality programs to come on board to fulfill a portion of his dream.
   "If it wasn't for my parents encouraging me through my first year of T-Ball with the Paty Lumber team, playing with guys like Weston Peters, Thorton Lacy and Justin Williams, I probably wouldn't be where I am today," said Vines in reflecting back to his early beginnings with the sport.
   "After playing for Randy Lacy my first year, my dad (Tim) coached me all the way through Babe Ruth, which was also an encouragement as well as often tough, because you know that dads are always harder on their kids."
   Vines quickly discovered a passion for the game and has been hooked ever since. There has never been a time that Vines hasn't been competitive, whether it was on the diamond or in a simple game played by children because of his belief that you should give it all you've got in anything you attempt.
   Said Vines: "I hate to lose at tic-tac-toe because that's just the way I am. I go out to win ever time I step on the field for baseball, on the court for basketball, or whatever else I am participating in. You never know, especially in baseball, if the game you're playing in will be your last because you could suffer an injury that might end your career. That's why I want to give it my all in anything I do."
   Many kids have the same dreams as Vines, but often lack the drive to make those dreams come true. It was never a problem for this young man, because at the age of 11 he began participating in the Dick Mills pitching program and has worked year around ever since to perfect the art of pitching.
   "That program has taught me everything I know about pitching," said Vines. "Mills recommended that I go and seek some advice on my flexibility, so before school started I went to visit Dr. Kevin Robinson, the associate professor of Physical Therapy at Belmont University, and he started me on a program to work on my weakness, and I have been doing that three times a week as well."
   If there has been an admirable quality about Vines in his career, it had to be his devotion to God and his willingness to forgo playing games on Wednesday nights so that he could be in attendance at his church. According to Vines, it was all about keeping God first in everything and being blessed for doing so.
   "My teammates didn't always understand why I did that, but I have always felt God should come first," stated Vines. "I definitely would not be where I am today without God on my side."
   There have been several memorable games that have stayed with Vines including the win over Happy Valley in their first meeting this season, and the regional championship game last season where Vines entered in the third inning and pitched his heart out through the ninth inning before being relieved by Wes Greer in the tenth inning, only to see the Cyclones go down in defeat on a controversial call.
   Yet, there is still some things that need to be addressed before his senior season is finished.
   Added Vines: "We still have some unfinished business to take care of. I think we are capable of going beyond where we made it last year. I believe the Cyclones want to prove to everyone that we can go out there and win it all for an opportunity to go to state."
   For Joseph Vines, his inspiration and motivation has came in the form of his parents, Tim and Aleshia Vines, along with his younger brother, Holden. It has been a family affair as the Vineses have traveled to support the Cyclones baseball program and their son through the good times as well as the lean times.
   When trying to identify one pitcher he wanted to be like, Satchel Paige was the name that quickly rolled off Vines' tongue.
   "You have always got to go out and have fun, never taking anything for granted," quipped Vines. "There are a lot of kids that are less fortunate due to physical limitations and cannot even play, so I do want to have a good time when I go out there and just stay loose."
   Joseph Vines has all the tools to follow in the steps of other Carter County natives that have made it to the college ranks and beyond. It is just a matter of continuing a successful regiment of working out and keeping priorities in the right order that will pave a highway to the diamond of a quality college program and hopefully the sound of a professional team calling Vines name in the major league draft in the future.